“If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give what you have to anyone who asks for it; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do for others as you would like them to do for you. Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you? Even sinners do that! And if you do good to those who do good to you, is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, what good is that? Even sinners will lend to their own kind for a full return. – Luke 6:29-34 (NLT)
Wow! Read that text again, – but this time go slowly and listen carefully to the implications!
Good, – sometimes it is good to not rush through the Word.
So much of our behavioral choices are based either on the behaviors of others or the expected behaviors of others. “I’ll do this for you, because you have or will do this for me.” We want to make sure that there will be mutuality in our relationships, â€“ so much so, that our behaviors are determined by the behaviors of others!
This scripture, and the entire life of Jesus, call us to turn from that worldly way of behaving. Our behavior should never be determined by the behavior of others (real, expected, or imagined). Our behavior should be based solely on the amazing love of God in Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus lived, accepted people, forgave people, died on the cross for us all, – not because he would receive anything from us for it, – we, too, should act only from and in the power of the love of Jesus.
There may be a cost to this way of living (Jesus gave his life), but there is also a cost to only loving those who love us! God calls us to pick up the cross and live for others and not for self, – to love others, because we have already been loved by God! It doesn’t matter what we receive from others, because we have already received everything we need from God who loved us first!
Bring it Home:
1. Stuck in a relationship of give – only if you can take? God has called us to so much more! Who can you start giving to who cannot or for the moment will not give anything back?
2. Get busy behaving based on God’s love and not the behavior of others! You will be a blessing!
God, your love is sufficient, in fact your love is more than I deserve or could ever use. Help me to be generous with your love, living my life for others. Help me remember that you provide for my every need! Amen.
John A. Holm
Transforming Church Institute