The Gift of LoveHow should you respond to such a great love?
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Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you (v.27).
Julio Diaz stepped off the late-night subway en route
to his favorite diner when a knife-wielding teen
demanded his wallet. Diaz handed the wallet over;
but as the mugger began to walk away, Diaz stopped
him. “If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of
the night,” Diaz said, “you might as well take my coat to
keep you warm.” He handed the boy his jacket and then
invited the bewildered mugger to join him for dinner.
Before the evening ended, Diaz again had his wallet,
as well as the boy’s knife, but not before sending the
mugger away with $20.
I wonder if Diaz had Jesus’ words in mind: “If someone
demands your coat, offer your shirt also” (Luke 6:29)?
Diaz’s story is striking because it stands at odds with
our prevailing culture. We learn early to watch out for
ourselves, not let others take advantage of us, and to
make sure we always get what we need first. Jesus and
the gospel, however, teach us an entirely different way—
the way of radical love.
For Jesus, love is an act that flies in the face of
conventional wisdom and common sense. Rather than
strike back at those who harm us, we’re to treat them
with generosity and kindness. What could be more
unconventional than receiving someone’s abuse and not
retaliating? What could be more radical than “[giving]
to anyone who asks” us for assistance or lending money
and resources to our enemies without ever “expecting to
be repaid”? (vv.29-30,35).
With these astonishing examples, Jesus defines love not as a sentimental
emotion but as a sturdy, daring act of selflessness. Love costs. Love hurts. Love
requires courageous obedience. Jesus demonstrated ultimate love on a cross,
the most radical and generous act we will ever know. —Winn Collier
Comb through Luke
6:27-36. Mark the
actions of those opposed
to you (enemies, etc.) and
then mark the way God
calls you to respond.
Rather than taking our
cue from our enemies,
who models the posture
we’re to possess? (v.36).
When have you recently
been tempted to strike
back at someone? How is
God challenging you to
show radical love?
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