Summary: Part 3 of this series.
When People See You – They See….. (Part 3)
Several weeks ago I started this series by asking “What do people see when they see you?” Do they see the Spirit of God operating in your life or do they see your flesh dominating your existence? Do they see someone who has compassion or someone who is truly out to get theirs even if that means someone else must be pushed aside? When people see you, what do they see? In my previous two messages I told you about what Jesus said would be present to those that believed which are still present and available to us today. However, if you choose not to believe in the supernatural, there is one core quality of your life that will always define you as a child of God – love.
I have preached many sermons about love and one thing remains true, the more I study it, the more I continue to learn. Just as faith is an action, so is love. If you say you have faith, yet you never act on it, your faith is dead. If you say you have love yet you never put it into action, your love does not exist. This morning I want to share with you the importance of love and how it truly defines the core of who you are.
I. Love In Action Towards Enemies
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28
Luke 6:27-38 records Jesus explaining to His disciples about love in action. You see, it was not enough to just say you love someone, He actually explained to them that love is an action. During the time that Jesus taught this lesson to His disciples, the Jews were being oppressed by the Romans and therefore they hated them. When Jesus told the people to love their enemies, many could not do it and chose to stop following Him. You see, it is much easier to hate than it is to love. But you must understand, Jesus was not talking about having “affection” for enemies, He was talking about an act of the will. This is what many people fail to understand in their relationships, love is a choice, an act of your will. Just as you can choose to hate, you have to make the choice to love and this is what Jesus was talking about. You can’t “fall into” this kind of love, it takes a conscious effort. Loving our enemies means acting in their best interest.
In the Luke 6:27-38, after Jesus tell the disciples to love their enemies, He then explains to them how to do it. In verse 27 He says “do good to those who hate you.” This is the first step and it is a huge one because it goes against everything that we have been taught. We justify our “unwillingness” to do this by saying something like “they won’t receive it anyway….they do not like me or won’t have anything to do with me…” We need to understand that it is not about the person, but about us. Whether a person chooses to receive the love is not a condition or requirement of us showing it. Making the step to do good to those that hate you becomes a defining moment in the rest of your life. In verse 28 Jesus says “bless those who curse you” and “pray for those who mistreat you”. The second part we do not have a problem with, but the first part of this verse hinders us. The world says “do unto others as or before they do unto you”. So by the world’s standard, we find good Christians cussing one another out. Someone said “I’ll go there with you if you want to go there.” Jesus was teaching that we should choose not to go there regardless of if someone else wants to. Speaking a blessing to someone who curses you is for your benefit but it will have an impact on the other person. You may not see it, but it will burn in their minds. I believe God wants us to open the door so that He can do the rest. If our actions open the door instead of closing them, then God has something to work with when He is dealing with those who are lost. The second part of the verse says to pray. We do not have a problem praying for those who get on our nerves. Oftentimes we pray that God will “give them what they deserve” so that we can get even, but this is not what Jesus was saying. He was saying that we should pray for their good, not for their destruction. Again, this is love in action by choice.