This past Sunday, we looked at some hard truths. Jesus tells us to â€œturn the other cheekâ€ when we are insulted, go the extra mile when unjustly treated, and give to the one who begs from us.
Itâ€™s easy for us to come up with every excuse possible to not obey. We disguise the idols of comfort, security, and selfishness under the names of justice, ministry, and good stewardship. I know itâ€™s so easy for me to justify my stinginess and comfort with those disguises.
But Jesusâ€™ teaching is clear. People in His kingdom are called to be radically generous. We are called to be so gracious and generous that the world will take notice and will question the reason and hope for our strange behavior.
Now, I have to say that Scripture tells us to be just as wise as we are generous. We need to make sure it is for the glory of God and the restoration of the one in need. But (I know at least for me), we tend to stray on the side of stewardship rather than generosity.
Maybe even more difficult than being radically generous, Jesus also tells us to love our enemies. Most of the time, our enemies are people who have hurt us in some way. More than likely, they were people whom we loved and trusted. I donâ€™t want to overlook that. The Bible doesnâ€™t overlook that. The cross doesnâ€™t overlook that. There are scars. The wounds that our enemies inflicted are still painful to think about.
However, Jesus is clear. We are still called to love our enemies no matter how difficult it may be. Love is pursuit. Itâ€™s not retreat. Itâ€™s relentless. It doesnâ€™t give up. It is unconditional.
This is for the glory of God, first and foremost. But, believe it or not, it is also for your good. Loving your enemy will provide the healing and strength that hatred will never bring. Hatred will not bring closure. Hatred will make the wounds reappear over and over again. Hatred will consume you with bitterness and harden your hearts to the point of death. But, unlike hatred, love will heal you. It will free you. It will redeem you.
How is this radical generosity and love possible? Itâ€™s by way of the cross. We were the ones who sinned against Him and did what was evil, yet it was Christ who turned the other cheek to the point of His crucifixion. He was the One who was naked on the cross so that we can have His cloaks of righteousness. He was the One who went the extra mile all the way to Calvary. We were the ones in need, and it was Christ who did not refuse. He gave life to us at a cost to Himself: His own life. We were the enemies of God, and yet it was Christ who loved us. It was Christ who gave Himself up for us.
That is how we can be radically generous and gracious. That is how we can love our neighbor, including our enemies. And this love will not just heal our own hearts, but it will heal those whom we love. May we be a people who cling to the cross of Jesus, and may we be a people of this radical generosity and love.
Pray for one another. Love one another. And love the world. See you at either Friday Night Study or Lordâ€™s Day worship.
Image source: changingworld.com