By Russ Wilkins
Dir. of Missions, Shiloh Baptist Assoc., Adamsville
Focal Passage: Luke 6:27-38
This Scripture is too hard to live out so come back next week for a new set of Scriptures to talk about.
Are you still here? Okay, let’s talk about it then. Today’s Scriptures are so challenging and to make matters worse, Jesus is the one who spoke them. They are “red letter” Scriptures. When I think of my faith, I sometimes like the easy faith.
You know, the believe and receive type of faith but Jesus is clear about the “take up your cross daily,” “follow Me” and “no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom” type of faith too.
That type of faith is hard and in today’s Scripture, Jesus gets very specific about living out our faith. I had a pastor that used to say, “If what you’ve got hasn’t changed you, you haven’t got it.” So, what does the “it” look like?
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those that curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. …” and that is just the first two Scriptures! I’m out! Not really, but I have failed in all four of those and that is just the beginning of this list.
Can you imagine a world where Christians get this right? Can you imagine a United States where we Christians get this right? Maybe we are at the ideal time to begin getting these Scriptures right in our life because we are in a nation that is rapidly turning its back on Christian ideals.
Many are “enemies” of Christians before they even know one. What if they meet us and despite their attitude, we still love them? What if they hate us because some of our beliefs in what Scripture teaches are different than their views and yet we are still good to them? What if right now, in the United States, we are faced with the best opportunity in our lifetime to share the gospel because the way we live is so different and so contrary to the way people around us live?
Out of the thousands of Scriptures in the Bible, this is only a small fraction of His Word for us, and yet, these few Scriptures lived out have the power to transform a nation. Early Christians lived this out even when the most powerful empire in the world was coming against them and what happened?
Some 300 years later, that same empire declared Christ as God’s Son. The early Christians were compassionate with one another, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, it was their compassion for those that hated them and mistreated them that changed the world.
We are desperately failing in this area. I was talking with a pastor today about this very thing except it was not about our “enemies.” It was about our brothers in Christ.
How Christians are constantly on social media tearing other Christians down. They attack the church down the street, the small church, the big church, the church that does it different than they do and on and on.
If we are unable to have compassion and love for our brothers in Christ, how will we have compassion for “those who hate you, curse you, mistreat you and strike you on the cheek?”
At the end of 2020, everyone I talked with couldn’t wait for 2021. They were ready for all the bad things that happened in 2020 to be behind them. Maybe 2021 will be much better, maybe it will be the same, but the important thing for us is how we will respond.
Will 2021 be your year to live with compassion? Will it be a year to show the love of Christ despite what “the world” throws at you?