“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Luke 6:27-28
Most of us understand that God’s ways are completely different then our ways. But sometimes, His ways seem downright ridiculous!
Have you ever been cursed? Have you ever had someone in your life work against your success? Have you ever had someone use you as an example of stupidity or incompetence?
To us, there seems to be no question as to what the right response is toward those who treat us this way. We believe that the right action is to respond in “like” manner; to defend ourselves and set the record straight! People who treat us badly have forfeited their right to kind treatment. The only thing that they deserve is punishment for their thoughtless, unfeeling actions!
Yet, here Jesus has the audacity to say that in such instances we should love these people and release that love through blessing them, doing good toward them, and praying for them!
You just crossed the line, Mister!
Where is the justice in that?
Maybe the whole point is that there is no “justice” in that! We live in times of the dispensation of grace. Dispensation is a word which simply means “release.”
Grace is often understood to mean “mercy” and certainly, grace is released due to mercy. But, grace means a little bit more than simply mercy.
Grace is a release of Holy Spirit power. It is often defined as “unmerited favor.” It is through grace, that you and I have been saved. We didn’t deserve salvation….we deserved damnation! Isn’t that what you want to release on your enemies! We were God’s enemies before salvation. Aren’t you glad He didn’t release what you deserved?
God, in His wisdom released grace through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. If you want to see something stopped, you release judgment. If you want to see something stopped and redeemed, you release grace.
You can’t redeem something simply through judgment. Holy Spirit power must be released upon people to redeem them. If we continue to sow resentment and unforgiveness toward our offender, then that is what we will reap back. The cycle will never stop. But, if we release grace, even if it is undeserved, then we break the power of the sinful actions of others against us and we set up the appropriate conditions to release spiritual power upon the offender!
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” Proverbs 25:21-22
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says this about this verse:
Thou shalt make him burn with shame at the thought of the wrong he has done thee. Thus, to bring a sinner to repentance is well-pleasing to the Lord, who shall reward thee for it. This is better far than to indulge resentment, which must bring sorrow to oneself, punishment from God—whose prerogative of vengeance (Romans 12:19) has been usurped—and only serve to harden the offender in his hostility.
What happens when we respond to an offense in grace? We release the power to forgive and the power to be free from sin’s effects as well as releasing the spiritual power to transform our circumstances and our offender!
When we bless those who curse us, we are not saying, “Lord, please let them get away with everything that they have done!”
What is the ultimate definition of blessing?
So, what we are saying is, “Lord, I myself am a recipient of undeserved favor. Would you please release the gift of conviction, repentance, and holiness upon the person who came against me. I don’t want to cause this sin to grow by acting in resentment but I want to counteract it, destroy it’s effects, and redeem it by praying for the release of spiritual power upon my offender. I bless them with a delivering encounter with You!”
God will respond to this prayer with the right actions for the situation. And, He will reward the one who responds this way, no matter how the offender responds to God’s conviction!
Hatred, resentment, and cursing only deepen the control of sinful actions against you. Forgiveness, witnessed through blessing the offender, doing good toward them, and praying for them breaks the control of the effects of the painful actions against you; causes God to respond by turning those situations around for your good, and sets up the appropriate conditions for God’s dealing in the offender’s life.
How this thing turns out is up to you: the offended one. Do you want the offense to rule you or do you want it’s poisonous effects stopped and the action redeemed? Would you like to see your offender dealt with by God?
Then, choose to release grace instead of judgment!