#932. The Golden Rule (7/11/23)
This week, as we continue in our series in Luke, we will be reflecting on Jesus’ teaching from Luke 6:27-42. Today, we will look at the very challenging word on loving our enemies and what is often called The Golden Rule from verses 27-31.
‘“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”’ (Luke 6:27-31)
Lesson: Doing to others as we would have them do to us summarises how we are to love and it is a key to help people who are far from Jesus to see Jesus in us.
You can listen to this devotional at:
These words are very challenging. I don’t think that anyone could feel comfortable when reading this. We might be tempted to see in these words an invitation to be abused by evil people and to hold no-one to account for the wrong that they do. We might be tempted to say ‘how will people grow up and take responsibility if I’m forever turning the cheek, giving them a free lunch and a free new wardrobe? Sounds like I’m being asked to be complicit if fattening up big selfish babies!’
These words are very challenging. I don't think anyone could feel comfortable when reading this. We might be tempted to see in these words an invitation to be abused by evil people and to hold no one to account for the wrong that they do. We might be tempted to say, 'How will people grow up and take responsibility if I'm forever turning the other cheek, giving them a free lunch and a free new wardrobe? It sounds like I'm being asked to be complicit in fattening up big, selfish babies!'
The reality is that Jesus’ Word is true wisdom. He promised that if we know the truth, the truth will set us free, and so a true understanding and application will lead to human flourishing. How are we to understand these words?"
Love your enemies
This is a summary statement of how we are to be like Christ toward others. We are to remember that we were God’s enemies in our sin and rebellion, but He has loved us and given His One and Only Son to save us.
Bless and pray for those who curse and mistreat you
Bless and pray for those who curse and mistreat you. This is not a call to hold no one accountable for abuse. However, it is a call to seek the best for those who abuse us. We are to be moved with compassion for people’s brokenness. We are to wisely consider when appropriate authorities need to be involved, but we are also to pray for those who are broken and who are hurting us, others, and themselves.
Turn the other cheek
The slap mentioned here is most probably the backhanded slap of insult and not severe violence, against which, of course, we should defend ourselves. Jesus' aim is to prevent the escalation of retaliatory violence that is the curse of many relationships and parts of the world. Christians, like Christ, are to receive insults and shaming with grace. In this context, this is particularly about being insulted for our faith, for which we should be prepared to continue enduring insults.
Be generous to the undeserving
Jesus speaks of allowing people to have our cloak and shirt, and being generous to the undeserving. This is most probably about being sacrificially generous with those in need. Christians should be prepared to give up valuable things so that others' suffering can be alleviated.
Doing to others as we would have them do to us summarises how we are to love and it is a key to help people who are far from Jesus to see Jesus in us.
‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ (Luke 6:31)
The Golden Rule is our response and is used by Luke as a summary statement of what we've just been looking at. Blessing, praying for, bearing insults by turning the cheek, and being generous to those who insult us, particularly in regard to our faith, is doing to them as we would want them to do for us. How is this? Imagine you were not a Christian and that you hated what Christians stood for. Imagine that you thought of Christians as bigoted and judgmental in their views on how you lived, etc. Now, in that condition, you might not realise it, but you would need Christians to persevere in being loving and gracious with you if you were to stand any chance of coming to faith.
As we treat others as we would have them treat us, we will create peace in our relationships and help them to see Jesus in us and, maybe, come to faith. When we love people regardless of their merit, there is space for the Spirit to move their consciences to see the love of Christ in us.
As we go into each day, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us to love like Christ loved us when we were far from Him.
Let’s pray together:
“Lord Jesus, I thank you for Loving me, taking insult, suffering and being overwhelmingly generous toward me when I was dead in sin. Help me to see your love for me with fresh amazement. Help me to go on to show this grace toward others. Amen.”
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
2. Icebreaker How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Study and pray together
This week, as we continue in our series in Luke, we will be reflecting on Jesus’ teaching from Luke 6:27-42 where, in essence, Jesus is teaching us about how we are to love others in a Christ-like fashion.
Please read Luke 6:27-42
Which aspect of this text do you find most challenging and why?
V.31 is often called The Golden Rule. In what ways can you practically apply this in the various relationships in your life?
Specifically, this section says a lot about being generous. What does it teach about how we are to use our wealth?
SIV - How will the application of this text, and The Golden Rule, help others to 'see Jesus' through us?
SIV - In v.37, we are commanded not to judge. This is about condemning people as beyond God's grace. How will obedience to this teaching help us to bring people to Jesus?
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?
SIV - What does V.28 teach us about the importance of prayer in mission and how are we doing in this regard?
SIV - Let's now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.