Do Good to Those Who Oppose You
“Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.” (Luke 6:27b-29 NLT, second edition)
When you’re persecuted, harassed, and face opposition, you need to respond with a blessing.
Jesus says in Luke 6:27-29, “Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also” (NLT, second edition).
Who does that?! Not many people, actually. It’s what sets Christians apart, because it’s not a natural or popular or easy response.
It takes a lot of courage to do those things! Any fool can fight back. Any wimp can retaliate. Any idiot can say something mean back. Even parrots can be taught to curse.
God wants you to love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who hurt you, and turn the other cheek. Is that easy? No. You can only do it by being filled with God’s love. And, it is the most powerful form of witness.
In the movie The Butler, they show the Freedom Riders, who fought racism in the South during the Civil Rights Movement, train people how to not retaliate when they’re hit, spit on, cursed, pushed, or when people throw food at them. It’s a very powerful scene of taking a nonviolent stance.
As I watched that scene, tears started coming down my face. I thought, “I want to be that kind of person for Jesus. I want to be that brave. I want to have a heart of courage that won’t cave in to what’s wrong, no matter what they throw at me. And I want to respond with love.”
When you refuse to retaliate and instead respond in love at work or with somebody who doesn’t like you, God will be pleased. And, you’re going to be blessed.
“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-12a).
Jesus paid a price for you. He says there’s a price to be paid for following him. Popularity on Earth is not part of the guarantee of being a Christian, but your reward in Heaven is a guarantee.
Talk It Over
- What is your faith costing you?
- How are you willing to suffer for Jesus Christ? How does your answer affect the way you handle insults or disapproval?
- Why is responding in love and not retaliation the most powerful form of witness for Christ?
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.