The Message

wil

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A little play on words here. I feel this passage is the crux of Jesus message as to how a Christian should act. So I took it first out of 'The Message'. Then I went ahead and pulled out a KJV for folks that are more attuned to Jame's version.

But my question is, with all our questioning of other Christians as to what and how they should think, with all our looking at other faiths and telling them they have to come over and be saved and learn our 'truth' how does all that fit in with what Jesus is said to have said according to this passage from Luke 6? Yeah, we got tons of other quotes and scripture we can pull out, I am not asking on this thread about that, I'm asking about these particular admonishments, how do we stack up??

Luke 6:27-38 The Message (MSG)
27-30"To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
31-34"Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. 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.
35-36"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.
37-38"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."
Luke 6:27-38 (King James Version)King James Version (KJV)


27But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
30Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
 
Interestingly, I am in the middle of teaching "The Sermon on the Mount" to some teens for my Friday night bible study, and I went over the parallel passage in Matthew 5:44-48, which I'll share with you:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Matt. 5:38-39
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” – Matt. 5:44-48


This is talking about loving our enemies. Your enemies may even be close to you, even in the same family. (Sibling rivalry?) God doesn’t want us to avenge our enemies, but to leave it up to Him. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:19-21
By doing good to your enemies, you are loving them. You are showing God’s love to them. And they will wonder what you are all about. Are you being teased at school? Is someone trying to bring you down? Instead of planning at getting back at them, try an act of kindness toward them, though they are undeserving of it. Many are the way they are because they themselves have been wronged by someone else. And there attitude has rolled on to you. And so when you perform that act of kindness to them, they will know there is something different about you and wonder. That’s the coals of fire the bible is talking about. Who knows, you may just turn your enemy into your friend.
But that is called grace. Giving something to someone that they don’t deserve, which is what God has done for you. That’s how you become perfected in love. It’s not easy, but it is the right thing to do.
 
Namaste Dondi,

Yes, in Luke these follow the Beatitudes, and it is amazing that folks will translate love your enemies to tough love.

Folks love to quote about fearing G!d, and retribution, but what is it that Jesus says here?

and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

How specific is that.
 
Yes, in Luke these follow the Beatitudes, and it is amazing that folks will translate love your enemies to tough love.
Or, perhaps translate it that Jesus was a selective servant? If not with 'tough love', then how did you love your children and family? I think that depends on your definition of 'tough'.
 
Wil, this sounds like a commentary on Jesus' central message (Luke 10: 27;Deut 6: 5;Matt 22: 37-39;Mark 12: 30-31). So to not believe in Luke 6:27-38 is to believe that God is a liar (1 John 5: 10).

Good stuff!
 
Let's not get all freaky. "Love your enemies" allows that there are enemies, and that they do fall under the golden rule clause. I don't think we're expected to make martyrs of ourselves to satisfy the letter of the law of love. Are our enemies the same as our brothers? Are they neighbors? If someone can make the argument that enemies, brethren, and neighbors are all the same I'd like to hear it.

How do we expect our enemies to treat us? With chivalry certainly, but what beyond that?

Chris
 
Hi,
I don't see this as literal, there would be no Christians on the planet! Maybe these words were spoken to provoke thought from a group whose actions were 180 degrees from what was being said. The point of the message being somewhere closer to a middle ground. The quote that Dondi uses about vengeance, is what I see as more of the teaching. It can't be that we don't have a right to self defense.

Joe
 
Are our enemies the same as our brothers? Are they neighbors?

How do we expect our enemies to treat us?

Chris
I think we can have enemies in and outside of Christ's family.
Treatment from them depends on them, but if they are in Christ's family you can be more assured of the outcome, but you don't know for sure. People can have strange interpretations. Also, telling someone that they are not being very Christ-like is very anti golden rule. You would be better off "heaping coals on their head." a.k.a. killing them with kindness.
 
Where did you get the idea that you choose definitions for words?
What does 'tough love' mean to you? If not with 'tough love', then how do you love your children and family?

I find with parenting and rehab that 'tough love' often has one definition, while with other people 'tough love' often has a different definition. I value the one, and not the other. I read in the gospels the one, and not the other. I read that Jesus did the one, and not the other.

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
 
Also, telling someone that they are not being very Christ-like is very anti golden rule.
So by you then Jesus is anti golden rule because he tells people when they are not being very Christ-like... yet Jesus was pro golden rule. Perhaps I could instead state that I am not pattimax-like here?
 
Hi Karen!

I don't think that the hypocrite accusation has much effect. Everyone is trying their best. We can all do better, of course, but life is kinda all-consuming and we all need time to evolve into these kinder, wiser people that we aspire to be. But if we could just leave the accusations and chip-on-shoulder stuff behind temporarily, it would be cool to talk about how to be more Christ-like in forgiving enemies and such. It's a hard thing to do for sure, and those who are sincerely trying, like wil, could probably use some support. I could use some help in this department as well, as hard that may be to imagine!

Maybe we could start by talking about how heaping coals of fiery kindness upon or rival's heads is a really sneaky and brilliant strategy. Or discuss the effectiveness of non-violent protest as a guerrilla tactic. But let's make it practical, and no more hypocrites calling hypocrites hypocrites.

Chris
 
Hi Karen!

But if we could just leave the accusations and chip-on-shoulder stuff behind temporarily, it would be cool to talk about how to be more Christ-like in forgiving enemies and such. It's a hard thing to do for sure, and those who are sincerely trying, like wil, could probably use some support. I could use some help in this department as well, as hard that may be to imagine!

Chris

That is the great thing about taking an honest look in the mirror, you realize that you are never alone. We are here to support each other.

My problem is that I forgive and I forget , but I remember.
I try to always practice grace, but I find it so easy to slip back into familiar patterns. It's definitely a learning process. Over and over and over...

But let's make it practical, and no more hypocrites calling hypocrites hypocrites.

Amen! (But, you know we're dealing with a familiar pattern here.)
 
What does 'tough love' mean to you? If not with 'tough love', then how do you love your children and family?
I define tough love as approach to an individual situation with an open mind and heart, but sticking to my principles.

I know that it's difficult, but definitions can't change or you will be waffling all over the place.
 
Actually when Christ was on the earth, it was brand new info to the gentiles.
You receive brand new info daily.

I define tough love as approach to an individual situation with an open mind and heart, but sticking to my principles.

I know that it's difficult, but definitions can't change or you will be waffling all over the place.
Definitions can change because people can change, and that does not necessarily mean waffling.

Is a person's mind or heart open when they reject hearing rebuke? No.

On this thread, will spoke against "tough love" claiming essentially that it is un-christian. I did not define "tough love". I am merely saying lets be clear on what "tough love" is.
 
On this thread, will spoke against "tough love" claiming essentially that it is un-christian. I did not define "tough love". I am merely saying lets be clear on what "tough love" is.
Namaste Cyberpi,

What I am referring to is those that chastise, belittle, coerce, folks regarding their beliefs, indicating that they must do as they do in order to find salvation.

The typical claim is that they are doing this out of compassion to save their soul, this is what I referred to as often called 'tough love'.

I think it is completely counter to the actual message of Jesus that we are discussing here.
CCS said:
"Love your enemies" allows that there are enemies
Namaste Sunflower,

I love that observation, the indication that we have enemies. I think if we followed the information contained within this scripture to the letter, and kept going to n+1, our perceived enemies would disappear, however currently we perceive them. And we need to start where we are.
Joedjr said:
It can't be that we don't have a right to self defense.
Namaste Joe,

It is a choice, self defense, it isn''t a non-violent choice. It is an elevated concept for sure that Christ has given us. WWJD? He pondered, take this cup from me, he made a choice. We to can support violence by violence, or make a choice.

It seems to me Jesus raised the bar, and asked us to reach for it. This is a completely personal thing. We aren't to tell others to love their enemy, or others to give, or forgive, those are their choices. This teaching is for us to strive to be a better person, to get the mind of Christ in me.
 
Let's not get all freaky. "Love your enemies" allows that there are enemies, and that they do fall under the golden rule clause. I don't think we're expected to make martyrs of ourselves to satisfy the letter of the law of love. Are our enemies the same as our brothers? Are they neighbors? If someone can make the argument that enemies, brethren, and neighbors are all the same I'd like to hear it.

How do we expect our enemies to treat us? With chivalry certainly, but what beyond that?

Chris

If our goal is to become Christ-like, then indeed, we should martyr ourselves for our enemies. Christ gave His life not for those who loved Him, but for those who hated, and despised, and at best did not even know Him. We are told that "no greater love has any man than that he lay down his life for his friends", but in fact laying down ones life for ones enemies shows even greater love.
In the sense that Christ died for all, and the Gift of salvation is bought and paid for and waiting to be accepted even by my enemies, they are for purposes of this discussion exactly the same as neighbors and brothers. Christ did not selectively die for only the "nice" people. He paid, mostly in advance, for the hateful, selfish, hurtful, and in any other way sinful acts of even the most despicable person; are we to decide who was worthy of the Gift? Or are we, according to scripture, rather charged with loving that most despicable person, and doing good for them, in hope that they will see a glimpse of the reflection of Christ in us, and be persuaded to accept the Gift?
Christ corrected those in error, but always in love (except maybe that dust-up in the temple... I see that as choosing to disturb the current peace to avert a great evil threatening the peace of many for generations). Jesus allowed the wayward listener to convict themselves. When we "sink to the level" of our enemies, we justify their selfishness and evil.
All of this is difficult to apply, but I believe that it is indeed the heart of the message, and that this IS to be taken literally, and it IS practical.
I just came through a trial in this very area, and I can tell you that as hard as it was, with God's help and much prayer, I managed to clear out the harsh feelings, swallow my hurt and pride, and repay my enemies' selfishness and meanness with kind words, blessings, and grace. The outcome might not have been any different, but the amount of turmoil and disturbance in the world was diminished! This is how the Kingdom of God will be advanced in this world.
 
What I am referring to is those that chastise, belittle, coerce, folks regarding their beliefs, indicating that they must do as they do in order to find salvation.
Well, do you LOVE your children? If your child does something that is off from what you know, headed for a pit, what do you do? Simply watch? Remain silent? Punish your beliefs into them? Do you NOT chastise and belittle the activities and poor choices that you believe will get them into trouble? Do you praise the behaviour you believe will keep them out of trouble? Or do you avoid rebuke and judgment, and simply enable your children to do whatever they please? Do you beat your beliefs into them? Do you simply NOT lay down ground rules? Do you teach the beliefs and lessons that you've learned, or do you force your children out to go learn their own lessons the hard way from somewhere else?

I think it is completely counter to the actual message of Jesus that we are discussing here.
I find the phrase 'tough love' has a positive and important meaning in the halls of AA, NA, foundations, philanthropy, charity, medicine, schools, and parenting. When I look in the gospels, I see that it is what Jesus did.
 
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