Luke 6:27-31 NIV
“……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 …”
This teaching given to us by the Lord Jesus, does not fit into our modern mindset, nor would it be a practical way if living, especially in 21st Century workplace …!
When we read these words, this is the kind of thing we might think. We say to ourselves, “Jesus isn’t being practical here, He doesn’t know what I face. Jesus isn’t living in my world..”
Jesus is right here in the world, right now. He knows everything that happens and He knows everything we all think. He knows what is coming and He knows the outcome of everything. So when He tells us we should behave in a certain way, we need to listen.
When we feel attacked verbally or emotionally, we want to protect ourselves. We believe that if we give back as good as we get, then others will respect us. If we never retaliate, then people will pick on us and bully us. It’s a dog eat dog world and we need to join in the cycle of hatred of violence, so that we will not be hurt.
Jesus says we must pray for those who behave in an evil way towards us. We must be concerned for their spiritual state before Him. Jesus says He will keep us and protect us in every circumstance, but the problem is, we don’t believe Him. We don’t think He really knows or cares for us on that most basic level. It can’t be good if Christians get hurt, can it?
In other places in our world, Christians suffer this kind of oppression every day. They cannot retaliate and they loose everything, even their lives..! This is something we find very hard to understand- surely God cannot allow this? But He does. For every Christian there is the facing the fact that God will allow trouble of all kinds in our lives. He is in complete control. The question is- will we obey and go through the trouble, or justify another course of action.?
In return for the evil dished out to us, we are commanded to give good things- prayer, blessings, generosity and lack of blame or vengeance. This is how Christians shine in a wicked and perverse society. If we react like the general consensus, then there is no difference between the Believer and the unbeliever. But if I react as Jesus has taught me, I will stand out and be a beacon of hope and love to other people.
We would wish to be treated with kindness, forgiveness and without a vengeful spirit, therefore that is how I must behave towards everyone else.
When someone hurts me, abuses me in serious ways, often the difficulty is not the event that hurt, but the great amount if prayer and grace we need to actually forgive the person. Hurt is so hard to let go of and forgiveness is not in our human nature, but if Jesus tells us to do it, we must. This is the attitude of life and character of the Christian. It is the opposite of what we are told by this world system. It is difficult, but it leads to life and peace for all those who trust in Jesus and obey what He says.
Forgiveness depends on grace. Our forgiveness depends on the grace and love of Jesus, and also on our decision to forgive those who hurt us. This is the only way to walk with God. If We follow our own desires, and act and react in the light of our own mindset, we walk in darkness.
What we do, our attitudes and actions impact on other people. This is how Christians should be making the world a better place, through life-changing faith and sacrificial living to everyone around us.