Jesus Christ came to teach us a better and more positive way of life. (John 10:10) However, His teachings are often different than the customs of modern day society. Jesus teaches His followers that we should be “the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:15) However, if we choose to follow society’s norm, how are we any different than society, and how can we offer Jesus’s “better way of life” to society?
This article discusses the verses from Luke 6:27-38, in which Jesus teaches principles that even many Christians today do not always follow because they conflict with society’s modern day mindset.
1. Love your enemies and do them good.
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27)
Many of us Christians do believe and agree that we are not to respond with hate and vengeance, but how many of us truly practice loving and blessing those who do us wrong? Do we follow mainstream culture that teaches us to separate ourselves from our enemies and to cut off all conversation and interaction with them? What Jesus teaches is for us to actively love them, bless them, and do good to them. It may seem like a difficult thing to do, but Jesus also says to pray for them who spitefully use you. When you pray for those who do you wrong, it fills your heart with the right attitude and strength to do what Jesus commands.
What’s more, when you actively practice loving your enemies, guess what? Most of the time, they no longer remain your enemies. Many times, a little love has a way of melting all the bad feelings and disputes between two people. And sometimes, our enemies can become our best friends. Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners, enemies of God, therefore, we should love our enemies. (Romans 5:8-10)
Look what Jesus says down just a few verses in Luke 6:32– “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”
If we only love those who love us, we are no different than the rest of society. Jesus offers a better and more positive way of life to us. He wants His followers to demonstrate this better way by following His teachings. But, if we do as society does, we are not shining His light, and we are not showing the world that there is a better way of life.
2.Turn the other cheek and offer your cloak
“To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.” (Luke 6:29)
In today’s modern culture, you are considered a fool if you keep giving to someone who mistreats you. Yet, Jesus commands that we do it. Why? Because love always wins. (I Corinthians 13:8) If you cut yourself off from someone who mistreats you, nothing is gained. However, if you continue to love and do good to someone who does you wrong, a relationship can be saved, and a soul can possibly be saved as well.
When we are in a situation where someone is mistreating us, our goal should not be to make ourselves happy. This is society’s teaching. Our goal is to make Jesus happy. When we keep giving to those who take away from us, we are reflecting the same love that God continues to give to us. No matter how hard we try, we often disappoint God. We sin and we make poor choices against His will, yet He keeps loving us and blessing us. He wants us to demonstrate this same love of His toward to others.
Just a few verses down in Luke 6:33, Jesus says, “And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”
Once again, if we follow society’s teachings instead of Jesus’s teachings, how are we any different than society, and how can we make a more positive difference in the world if we don’t practice these “different” teachings of Jesus?
3. Give without expecting anything in return
“Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.” (Luke 6:30)
Even many of us Christians expect people to pay us back loans and favors, but Jesus taught otherwsise. Everything we have, God has given to us to begin with. If we give what others who ask of us, God will provide for us as He did in the first place. How often do we repay God for all He has given us? There is no way we can repay Him for salvation in Christ. We are to be like HIM! Practicing this verse might be hard to do, but we have to keep in mind that by doing so, we are pleasing Christ by being like Him, and He will reward us for it.
Just a few verses down in Luke 6:34, Jesus asks, “And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.”
Once again, how are we any different if we do as the world and not as Christ? How can the world see a better way if we don’t show it?
4. Practice the golden rule
“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do them likewise.” (Luke 6:31)
This teaching of Jesus is often referred to as the “golden rule,” but how often do we actually practice it? Too often, we get caught up in focusing on our own concerns, and we don’t have any time or room in our thoughts to think of others.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3-5)
5. Judge Not
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
Sadly, society often pegs Christians today with a reputation for being too judgemental. Way too often from my own experience do I hear and read complaints from both non-Christians and non-practicing Christians that “Christians are just too judgemental.” I have heard many people claim that they choose not to go to church or to not even be a Christian for this reason. As believers and followers of Christ, we need to remember that we, too, sin and make poor choices sometimes. We are all weak at times. We cannot be judgemental. What’s more, Jesus wants us to draw others to Him, not run them off! We must be conscientious of the truth that Jesus may hold us accountable if we hinder others from coming to Him. (Mark 9:42)
6. Be kind and merciful like your Father in heaven.
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be the sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)
In these two verses, Jesus is summarizing the preceding verses. He is saying “THIS is the reason you should love your enemies, do good to them, and give without expecting anything in return: because your Father in heaven does the same to you, so you should do likewise that you show yourselves to be His children.”
How often do we sin against God? How often do we thank Him for all He does for us everyday? How often do we do good things for God? Probably not nearly as often as we should, and yet, He keeps loving us and blessing us anyway. Therefore, we should imitate Him by doing the same to others.
7. What goes around comes around
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
People today often talk about karma–“what goes around comes around.” Jesus teaches this principle here in this verse, only in a positive way. The good that you do will come back to you, and in abundance. It may be a hard pill to swallow to do good to those who have mistreated us, but guess what? God will see to it that our good is rewarded if we do it in the right way and with the right attitude.
If Christians could truly learn to practice and live these teachings of Jesus, we could truly make a more positive difference in the world!