If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 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 is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:32-36
Dear heavenly Father, if I was ever in doubt about the power of your law to drive me to Jesus, all doubt is removed by this one Scripture. I cannot and I will not love like this, apart from union and communion with Jesus. So as I pray through this passage today, I do so convinced of your love for me in Jesus and comforted to know that you have hidden my life in his.
Father, I’m the ungrateful and wicked one to whom your kindness has been wondrously expressed in the gospel. Indeed, it was while I was your enemy that you reconciled me to yourself through the death of your beloved Son, Jesus (Rom. 5:10). Every time I try to excuse myself from loving difficult people, remind me of these truths. I’ve never been “choice,” just chosen by your sovereign grace.
Who are my enemies, real or imagined? Forgive me for labeling some people “the enemy” simply out of my bruised pride, hurt feelings, and fragile self. Bring the power of the gospel to bear. Gentle me in those relationships. Simply avoiding them will do no good, and rehearsing their failures will only fertilize my loveless-ness.
Father, for those who have been instruments of harm in my life, by their words or with their own hands—revenge belongs to you; a calling to love with wisdom is mine. Help me, Lord. Give me a bigger heart, thicker skin, and a longing for stories of redemption and reconciliation. So very Amen I pray in Jesus’ strong and compassionate name.