“But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.” Luke 6:35
Of all the things Jesus says in scripture, this has got to rank up there as one of the hardest messages to embrace. Our pastor included this passage in his message today.
Not sure why he had to go and do that. 😉
At best, most days, I’m doing good if I simply tolerate my enemies.
It’s verses like this one that have a way of humbly reminding us that we fall short every single day of loving others like Jesus does.
This morning, it was the last sentence that caught my eye and the one I jotted down in my notes.
“For he is gracious (kind) to the ungrateful and evil.”
Take a moment to think about that for a moment.
Time and again, Jesus modeled to us how to be gracious to the ungrateful and evil. I think about how he washed Judas’ feet even though he knew Judas was about to betray him.
I think about how, on the the night he was arrested, he reprimanded one of his disciples for turning towards violence and wounding one of the guards who came to arrest him. Jesus didn’t have to take the time to restore the guard’s ear, but he did. He displayed kindness in the face of evil. Jesus extended second mile grace in that moment. He could have just voiced his displeasure with his disciple for lashing out, but instead, Jesus took it one step further, he healed and restored his enemy.
Do you ever wonder how that one moment may have impacted the rest of that guard’s life?
Do you ever wonder if that guard, because of that one act of love, may have ever one day changed his mind about Jesus? (Yes, I think about these kinds of things.)
This was also the last recorded miracle mentioned in scripture prior to the resurrection. Miracles were extraordinary acts of love and the last recipient of this act of love (that we are privy to) was an enemy.
We don’t know the rest of that guard’s story. But I do know this: When people encounter the personal touch of Jesus and his love…people are always left changed in some capacity. Always.