But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. – Luke 6:35
Recently, I don’t think I have ever seen so many examples of people who believe they have been done wrong and have made it public. I’ve seen it at a construction site, I’ve seen it at church, I’ve seen it at restaurants, and I’ve seen it on social media . . . of course, it is always on social media.
I remember one time how tempted I was to play my greatest injustice out on social media. I knew without a doubt that I would gain the sympathy of the overwhelming majority. It would have felt so good to “pay them back,” even if for just a little bit. God was adamant in constantly showing me verses like Luke 6:35. They always said the same thing in essence, “Adam, you will do no such thing.” Like a little kid that didn’t get his way, I would always ask “Why, Lord?” The reply would always be some form of, “Because you are mine, and you don’t get to do things like the world does.”
Now that I am well on the other side of it all, I read Luke 6:35 a little bit differently. Honestly, I never really made it past the first sentence. I just always thought that it sucked having to do good to my enemies knowing that I would not receive goodness in return. I did it anyway. I did it reluctantly, but I did it. I am just now arriving at the second sentence of Luke 6:35, and I see what God was doing.
Then your reward will be great
I think we spend so much time figuring out how to pay back our enemies that we never even consider the fact that if we can learn to take injustices being done to us, then there is a reward involved. Yes, there is probably an eternal reward in heaven, but the ultimate reward is that we become more like Him. Think about it, one of His 12 best friends literally sold Him out. Religious people held illegal meetings at night to discuss how they could terminate Him. People who shouted, “Hosanna in the highest!” to Him last week were shouting “Crucify Him!” this week. Oh my goodness how He could have paid them back! He could have paid them back like nobody in history has ever paid anyone back. Yet, do you know what He finally said when He got a moment to take a painful breath on the cross? “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” He did the greatest thing that could possibly be done for them . . . He forgave them.
And you will be children of the Most High
I get it now as I look at God’s Son on the cross. I see how He handled the greatest injustice that has ever taken place. He gave it all receiving nothing in return. Look at how He was able to take all that had been done to Him. It almost makes me sick because His follower, Adam Hopkins, hasn’t been able to take anything. For the first time in my soon to be 46-year-old life, I feel like I took something for Him and didn’t react the way that I would have normally reacted. I feel more connected with Him. I realize that the goal of injustice is never to “pay my enemies back,” but to change me to look more like Him. God’s kids look different than the world’s kids.
Because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked
The funny thing about this last part, is thinking about how many times I’ve been ungrateful and wicked. Yet, I’ve wanted Him to “bring down fire from heaven,” on people who have been ungrateful and wicked to me. All I can say is “Thank You, God, for being the merciful God that You are.” He is working on others just like He worked on me. I must be good to ungrateful and wicked people. Why? Because He was so good to me when I was just like them.
Lord, I want to be different. I want to graduate from Basic Bible 101. But when I stew in anger and hope that my enemies “get what’s coming to them,’ I could not be further from You. I open up my heart to the power of the Holy Spirit. Stir a passion in my heart, Lord. While on the cross You forgave. Surely, I can do it in the comfort of my own home. How could someone be given as much as I have and be bitter towards anyone? You have blessed me above and beyond what anyone could possibly deserve. Plus, I know You. May I never take that for granted. When I go through hard things, help me to think one thing and one thing only, “How are You going to use this to change me? How will this make me more like You?” For the first time in my life, instead of saying “fix this, Lord” I have the capability of saying, “Maybe I am the one who needs to be fixed.” Help me, God. You know I need it. Amen