"Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.Luke 6:30(NASB)
A serious and thought-provoking discourse was given to Christ's chosen disciples and the wider multitude alike - on the high cost of discipleship, in this radical sermon-on-the-plain, which was recorded by Luke.
Jesus taught them four blessings that would be received by those who hungered after godliness, and were persecuted for righteousness sake.. while an equal number of woes were passed upon those who were rich, and self-sufficient... popular with the world and enjoying the good things that this fallen, world-system provides.
It was then that Christ revealed that love was the only way that blessings could be received, woes could be averted and God's grace could flow freely into the lives of those who believed. Christ's groundbreaking revelation was through love - a supernatural love, that only comes from above.. a godly and God-given love, about which the world has no knowledge or understanding. The love about which Paul spoke was a superhuman love, that is only possible in the lives of those who are one with Christ.. abiding in Him, resting in His grace and trusting His provision. But God's love is only given, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you, is the astonishing teaching that Christ gave to the nation of Israel - yet they never understood the 'spirit' of the Law of God. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other cheek and whoever takes away your coat, let his have your shirt as well, was the Lord's unorthodox and thought-provoking teaching, at His first coming. And here in this verse we are astonished to hear His instructions to: give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
Disciples of Christ were to go the second mile, the third mile and even the fourth mile, to demonstrate the supernatural love that can never be manufactured or brought about in the human heart. They were to display a godly, God-given love, that only comes from above.. in order to treat others in the way that they would wish to be treated, by them.
A supernatural love, that mirrors the love of God, is the essence of Christianity, which can only be demonstrated in a life that is saved by grace through faith. Love is the primary fruit-of-the-Spirit, from which all other godly graces flow. Only a sinner, saved by grace, has the capacity to love as Christ loved.. but he must be prepared to 1) take up his cross, 2) to follow Christ, 3) to give his life as a living sacrifice, and 4) to walk humbly before God.
The natural, human reaction to those who abuse us or take advantage of us, is not to show the godly grace that Christ demands. The human response towards those who do us wrong is to retaliate... to demand recompense.. to cultivate an inner grievance or to give an outer display of anger or revenge. To transparently bestow kindness and love on one's enemies, or to show grace towards those who exploit or exasperate us, is not an action that can be whipped up in the blackened heart of fallen humanity.
To suffer at the hands of an enemy and yet to unfailingly bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things and to confer blessings on their heads of those that despitefully use us or threaten us, can never be achieved by a person that is not in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit of God.. and is in a right relationship with the Father.
As believers we are instructed to live as Christ lived, and do the will of God in every area of our life.. where every word and deed is a reflection of His goodness and grace. To achieve this in our own strength is impossible. The love we demonstrate to others must be a love that flows through us from on high, like streams of living waters. The kindness and consideration that Christ demands from each of us, can only be achieved, as we die to self and live for Him.
Heavenly Father, what a lesson to learn, on how to treat others. You did not treat me the way that I deserved, but instead You graciously came to die on the cross to take the punishment that I justly deserve. Forgive me for the times that I have dishonoured You by my response to those that have harmed me or done me wrong. Help me to live as You would have me to live, and to treat others in the way that I would like to be treated. Give me, I pray, the grace to do so.. for I know that in my own strength this is impossible - Thank You in Jesus name, AMEN.