Don’t you think that sometimes Jesus just goes ‘too far’!?
“If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.” (Luke 6:34-36 / MSG)
You could be forgiven for thinking that this is beyond you, and even dangerous to try. You just don’t naturally want to show kindness to someone who’s back stabbed you and shown that they don’t think much of you.
There is a common kindness God shows to us all by giving us life, air, rain and sunshine, whether or not we love, trust or believe He exists. And God goes beyond this through Jesus, in his willingness to be born, live, die and rise for us, whether we’re interested in being rescued or not. Out of kindness God is constantly on call to help us through trouble and deliver us from evil.
This ‘enemy loving’ is well beyond me without God’s help! I have failed miserably to love my enemies (those who dislike or even hate me). When someone goes out of their way to wreck your reputation or cause you harm your gut reaction may be like mine, “Stuff you!” But, if I’m serious about following Jesus and letting him transform me, I must try to see such slanderers as human beings whom God loves, even if I don’t. Experience tells me that, when I ask for spiritual support to forgive and go out of my way to care for someone who has done me wrong, the ability is there, and I feel so much better about my adversary and myself. That person may not become my bosom buddy, but such caring for them does tend to change their negative attitude towards me (at least for a while).
Jesus is bang on: truly following him and growing up in our identity through Him, will be soul stretching and relationship transforming. I rarely quote the Dalai Lama, but here goes, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Mother Teresa had many dark nights of the soul, and what a beautiful soul she became, able to say, with her famous smile, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
With daily help form God’s Spirit, such consistent kindness is within reach of us all, and what a brighter world it will be!