The Counterculture Ethic – A Radical Love

Hey Ever’body!

This Sunday we’re going to look at the teachings of Jesus that I warned you about last Sunday.  My warning was only tongue in cheek, but what we will read is definitely something believers have struggled with since Jesus first uttered it.  We’re going to look at Luke 6:27-36.

Jesus makes some powerful and profound statements about God’s definition of love.  It is all very familiar stuff, and could easily be read past as a nice reminder to follow the “golden rule”…unless we make it personal.  Imagine someone in your life who’s hurt you.  Whether they cheated you or told a lie about you or abandoned you…whatever it may be.  Imagine that person, and then read all that Jesus says here about how love thinks and acts, and imagine doing what he says for the person who wronged you.  For that person.  It certainly isn’t the easiest of things to do, is it?

It would have been one thing if he just told us not to retaliate…we can usually find the nerve to grit our teeth and not fight back.  But he pushes the boundaries so far out…he tells us to be active in showing love to difficult people.  Jesus gives us a few reasons why we would do this, and a bit of an idea what it will result in.  What are those things?

How do you see this part of Jesus’ teachings effecting your own life?  Is this something you struggle with or ignore (I don’t offer the option of it being something you do well because I don’t want to tempt you into lying, … no one does this well).

What are your thoughts on this passage?  Do we take it literally, or is it just a nice thought, or something for the future, or an ideal couched in hyperbole?  What is your take?

See you Sunday.

4 comments

  1. I heard someone say recently, “Those words in red are real tough.”

    Well those are. When you read these, you first want to believe that you could be that kind of a person. But disappointment is quick on its heals. But is there a warning in that disappointment? Is that our enemy calling us to do what we appear to naturally do? Hate, curse, return violence with violence, etc. Kind of begs the question that if Christ is willing to tell us to do this, there must be a way. (I am the way, the truth and the light).

    I found it interesting that compared to the 10 commandments, or the 10 do nots, there are no do nots, but rather “instead do this”.

    As if the “instead do this’s” isn’t enough of a challenge, Jesus adds the meat to it, I mean the real hard part, the ultimate “hair in the butter”

    “hoping for nothing in return”

  2. These verses make me think of the lyrics of the U2 song:

    And you give yourself away
    And you give yourself away
    And you give
    And you give
    And you give yourself away

    The only way we can do this is to LET GO of our own wants and needs and replace them with His wants and needs(AND LET GOD). This is definitely a life-long challenge but it makes life worth living when we become more and more like Him.

  3. You’re right, Rob-none of us does this well. Still these verses resonate deep in me (and I assume in all of us) that this way of living is the right way…it connects us with the eternal. And Jesus certainly demonstrated this.

    But I don’t think its just as simple as not lashing back. Thats a part of it. It’s not about being wimpy and weak…It’s about responding in ways that are creative and that communicate truth and that bring healing rather than allowing anger and violence to be our default setting.

    Jesus conquering death by allowing Himself to be crucified. That’s the ultimate example: creative, true and healing.

  4. How can you not struggle? This is one of those “hard sayings” that is well, um, actually really hard. You’ve been betrayed or lied to or had someone turn their back on you or steal from you– and you are supposed to show love? You’re supposed to show love and not expect an “I’m sorry” or even a “well, here’s why I did that”? Makes me think this might have been what Jesus spoke of when he said, “with men it ain’t happening, but with God it can be done’ or something like that. It also makes me wonder if this isn’t a great lesson and picture of the way God’s mercy works toward us (but that is for another time).

    Yet I’ve read in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs of Christians about to die offering forgiveness to their murderers and those executioners being so moved that they found faith in Jesus and got in line to die. After reading something like that, I am reluctant to even claim I know Christ. And then I think, if they can do it perhaps I can too. It might look more like “What About Bob” (babystep to not kill them when I see them, babystep to be able to talk to them…..) than “Onward Christian Soldiers” but there is hope.

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