Wednesday 29 July 2015

Bible Book:

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (vv. 35-36)

Luke 6:27-38 Wednesday 29 July 2015

Psalm: Psalm 52


Like yesterday's passage, this would appear to beabout the values of the upside down world of the followers ofJesus. Today's readers need to remember that this was spoken topeople living in an occupied country, where the controlling armydemanded certain demeaning services as of right - with severepunishment for those who refused.

This can be seen as a possible way of turning the tables on theoppressor, and retaining one's own integrity. The demands asoldier, for instance, could make was restricted by the Roman's ownlaw, so the responses suggested in verse 29, may well have resultedin the person insulted somehow feeling more in control. It mighteven have resulted in a conversation!

A refusal to allow another person's bad or even evil behaviourto produce an equally bad response is a refusal to be less that thebest we can be. A refusal to respond with another evil actionbecomes a refusal to co-operate with evil in any way. Theincreasing escalation of brutal response in today's worldcan lead to a justification of torture as an answer toterrorism, but the refusal to co-operate, and so rejectevil, may be very costly. There is a pattern here that is seenmost clearly revealed in the trial and crucifixion of Christ.

The reader is invited to look for ways to be God-like; to loveas God loves. This love is not about passion as we understand ittoday (sexual or not) nor about affection, but about the Godlyquality of compassion. This is a caring which is not interested inwhat someone deserves, but only concerned for their needs. This isa concern which never asks 'What do I get in return?', but isconstantly generous when there is no return and no thanks at all.And again the rewards are only found in the relationship with theGod who loves us all like that.

To Ponder

  • Reflect on the people you find most difficult; on all thosesituations when you want to retaliate or get even. How would you'be merciful'?
  • How might you want to rewrite the chosen verses for situationsin the world today?
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