But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.
We don’t like to hear these kinds of things, often. We don’t want to bear any injury or hurt. We want to be treated as we treat others, to kind of flip what Jesus says about treating others how we want to be treated. We want justice and fairness and for things to go the way we think they should go. But life’s not fair. The world is full of sin and sinful men. The world is full of people who despise our Lord and despise His ways and will despise us for following Him. The evil and hatred in the hearts of men will affect us. We’ll face these kinds of injuries that Jesus mentions.
And in a lot of ways, we’re supposed to just take it. Love bears all things, but all too often it seems we’re not willing to bear any kind of injury, even though Jesus said that’s exactly what we would have to do. Isn’t that what He did? He bore our sins and sorrows. He bore that crushing weight—not for His own sake, but for ours. So we can’t be so concerned only about our comfort, our benefit, our best, our stuff. We don’t overcome hate with more hate. We don’t overcome evil with more evil, but with good. We can’t let the faith that causes the world to hate us be tarnished by acting like the world.
What we do is not dependent on who we are doing it for or who is receiving what we give. It is the outward action with a right heart behind it. It is obedience to what God wants us to do. It is serving Him even by serving those who hate us and hurt us. These things—loving, doing good, blessing others and praying for them—are our duty. They are things that God did for us and does for us even when we aren’t His own. And so as His followers, we are called to a higher standard and a different way of life.
As followers of Jesus, He calls us to do a lot of things that don’t seem to make sense. He calls us to a lot of things that don’t align with the way the world works. But we are to be faithful to Him and to His ways. We are to obey His commands and live how He’s told us to live. We are to pattern our lives after Christ, and He did all these things He is asking us to do. And He will help us to become the kind of people that will have these responses to the evil of this world. As we become more and more like Jesus, we will treat others how He treats us.