“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” Luke 6:35 (NASB).
“Forget it, I don’t want to talk to you anymore!” The text came through abruptly, and Susan blinked as she reread it in disbelief. Had she really been this misunderstood by her friend? Her heart began to beat faster at her ability to conjure up these feelings in another human. On the other hand, Susan was relieved. Was she really finally free of such a difficult relationship?
Today’s verse reminds us that in many cases, even though we want to cut ourselves off from a world that doesn’t understand us, Jesus tells us that we should love, even — especially — those who are ungrateful and evil. We are made in God’s image after all, and He is the very definition of kindness. So regardless of anyone else’s belief system or personality or stereotyping, you, as an image bearer of God, are meant to love.
So when someone hurts you, instead of withdrawing, take a step back momentarily, allowing everyone some time to breathe. You can show love even if you don’t see eye to eye. Don’t offer something that will harm you or the other person by spoiling or indulging sin, but instead, show love. In doing so, you will remind the other person that you not only value who they are, you also recognize your own worth and dignity.
Then, ask God for help in showing this person that He has something better for both of you: a reward, as it says in Luke, that will be great!
Dear Lord, thank You for making me in Your image. I know You have equipped me to love others, even when I am so tempted to strike back at them. Show me when to set boundaries, and when to receive people with open arms. I want to bless others with Your Light. I trust You with all my relationships, even the hard ones. Help me to be bear Your image in all that I do. Amen.
Thought: Many people feel the need to set boundaries with those who sin towards them, and many times they are right. Abuse should not be tolerated. But when you are dealing with another person who has hurt you or has misunderstood you, pray and ask God to lead you in the right way before you abandon the friendship or start reciprocating their cruelty. He can help you to forgive; after all, God has something way better in store for you than holding on to resentment!
By Christa Hardin
used by permission
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• Forgiveness – Yourself and Others