Radical Love

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 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.

Here the Teacher gives an incredible sermon about love. Frankly, it is so completely radical – so out of step with reality - as to seem totally impractical. Even impossible!

But is it?

We might be tempted to dismiss this radical kindness if it were not for one very important fact. The Teacher actually lived it!

Just go down the list. The Teacher isn’t just talking. He practiced all this as an everyday way of living!

But one scene from His life captures it all for us – the cross!

There, He loved His enemies, even died for them! Prayed for the forgiveness of those who nailed Him to the cross! Allowed His enemies to strike Him repeatedly even though He had power to stop them! Gave up His robe and clothes to the executioners!

He even practiced the golden rule. He did for everyone just exactly what He would have wanted done for Him if He had been in need of grace – He died for the sins of the world!

No! Radical love is practical! What seems really drastic is the Teacher’s obvious belief that His students can live this way too!

Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the teachings I have heard people have the hardest time accepting (even me!) Should we be able to stand up for ourselves? Didn't Paul rely on his Roman citizenship to get out of a flogging? Are we supposed to be pushovers?

    What is it that we have problems with in these teachings? Pride maybe?

    These teachings seem so contrary to most of our nature...

    I guess that's the point.

    Maybe we'd do well to remember that we were God's enemies when Jesus died for us (Rom 5:8 ff)

    So we, too, are to be kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

    Yet... still... incredibly difficult to take an honest look at.