Monday, December 28, 2020

Showing Love to Those Who Mistreat You

 December 28, 2020

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28


Showing Love to Those Who Mistreat You

When Jesus lived on earth, He was often met with opposition. But He always met this opposition and even hatred with love, time after time. He modeled for us the way we are to treat our enemies - those who hate us, curse us, and mistreat us. This time of year we are naturally thinking about how we can spread some extra love and cheer. Why not spread this love to those who have never shown love to us? The truest form of Agape love is the love that is given to those who seemingly don’t deserve it and from whom we know we will probably not get a thank you in return. But Agape love is given with nothing expected in return. From the verse above we can find three ways we can show this love to others:

Words of love - Bless those who curse you

The power of words is awesome. Christian love returns blessing for cursing.

It is so hard to say loving things to someone who is not being loving to you. It is our human nature to feel angry, hurt, and even resentful when someone says awful things to us and about us. But Jesus never did react with words of anger to those who cursed Him. In His power and strength, we can show the love of Jesus to those who curse us by returning blessing for cursing. 

Actions of love - Do good to them that hate you

Words are cheap - actions are costly.  This requires purpose, not emotion, for accomplishment. Jesus knew what He was saying was impossible except there was a transformation of the heart! 

Only in His power can we have the strength and control to respond with goodness to those who show us hate. That could be an anonymous act of kindness or baking cookies and taking them to an unfriendly neighbor. 

Attitudes of Love Pray for those who mistreat you – 

Jesus gave to us the best example of this when He prayed, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Those who are opposed to your life and its influence are usually on your mind - Pray for them The true test of this kind of love is to be found at this very point. 

Nothing says love for someone more than lifting them up to our Heavenly Father. This is a private act between you and God, not for public glory. The most intimate moments between you and God, to lay open your heart and tell Him everything. You can tell Him how you might have been hurt by this person, and then pray for them.  

If you are living in a relationship with someone who mistreats you, such as a family member or a spouse, then you know the constant pull of trying to show love to them. It is the most difficult thing, yet the most sanctifying. Jesus was never saying that He wants us to be Martyrs. He never wants anyone to stay in an abusive relationship. But He does want us to respond in love always, especially to those who don’t show us love. This act of showing love to them is an extension of the very heart of Jesus Himself. We can always show love to those who love us. That is easy. But showing love to those who hate us is a true act of agape love. Jesus doesn’t call us to do easy things - like love those who love us. He calls us to hard and holy things - loving the unlovable. 

Who can you show the love of Jesus to this week? Be looking for ways to be a vessel for His love, to spread it to those who are not easy, to those who are unlovable, to those who are difficult. How can you do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you? This is what He has called us to do. Pray for His strength to respond in His love.

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