Christianity 401: Graduation, Part 1
We’ve spent the last several weeks diving deeply into Jesus’s relational commands, found mostly in Luke 6:27-38. Let’s conclude our “Graduate Level Christianity” series by revisiting the key take-aways from these important teachings, as they reflect something very precious to Jesus – the way we love one another. --- Let’s love our enemies. While we can’t do so through our own strength, we can love them through Christ Jesus, who lives in us. When our enemies do hurtful and harmful things to us, instead of responding as they expect us to - with retaliation - let’s strive to become more like Jesus, and respond to anger and hate with love and grace. When verbally attacked by others, let’s use the power of our words as Jesus did – to give life. We emulate Jesus on the cross when we ask for forgiveness on behalf of those who hurt us. If we need to pray for someone who has abused us, we do so by opening our hands and releasing our abuser to God. We trust He will serve justice in His time and in His way. We remember that as we faithfully obey Jesus’s command to pray for our abusers, we open the floodgates of heaven for God to rain down His blessings on us. We choose to forego retaliation for personal offenses. Instead, we diffuse and deescalate a heated situation by extending an olive branch. We refuse to trade insult for insult – thus stopping the escalation of hate and hurt when heated conflicts arise. And we glorify God when we do so. We refuse to shame people. We never use humiliation as a means to punish. We stare directly into the eyes of evil with eyes filled with Jesus’s love. With mercy and grace. And by reflecting the light of Jesus to others, we’re able to give our enemies a glimpse of Jesus, which may be the first of Him they’ve ever seen. Then the world will know that we belong to Jesus. And people will be drawn to the Jesus we love so much (John 13:34-35).