So I was thinking about the idea of blessing people and loving enemies. You know like Jesus told us to in Luke 6:27-31. “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
I find it really difficult to find a blessing to speak over certain individuals. I want to say God bless you but my mind wants to add …with lots of high energy, strong-willed children! That probably qualifies more in the cursing than blessing category. Still, it sounds better than Lord, please infest their armpits with the fleas of a thousand camels.. I suppose that’s not a very refined theology about the difference between curses and blessings. But the truth is I don’t do well in the love your enemies department. Obviously I am not the only Christian in society that hasn’t perfected the forgiveness thing.
Sometimes it’s hard to know why someone acts like you’re the enemy. As an example, for the most part I don’t overreacting in traffic…. Okay, sometimes I don’t…. Well not everyday anyway. But some people are in a hurry. If the light turns green and the car in front of you hesitates, a loving approach is a tap or two on the horn. If you lay on the horn for the next twenty seconds, my guess is there’s an issue with patience. In your mind the other driver is acting like an enemy. That’s true whether you’re the one honking or the slow poke. Of course we all feel justified in our thought process.
I doubt Jesus was concerned about road rage when he gave this sermon on loving enemies. But his logic in Luke 6:32-34 is hard to argue. “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
Alright, so my self-justified behavior isn’t getting me any heavenly capital to spend. So what f I want to be a better Christian and spread blessings? Real blessings and not just the reactionary “be blessed” that has all the weight of an Americanized “how are you?” that hardly anybody really means. Wouldn’t you know Jesus has an answer for that! Right there it is in Luke 6:35-36 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
It is certain I have not mastered this love my enemies thing. Maybe if I just slowed down for a moment before reacting things might change. It’s likely that if I considered my words before speaking others would view me as loving. Unless of course those words are may barbarians invade your personal space…. I’ve been known to say that. There are many coping skills that could help change how to react in any given situation. It just doesn’t seem probable to have a lasting result on my own strength. This is why I must lean in on God more and rely less on my own abilities.
Rev. Burt Schwab