Recently in the prayer room we were praying through Jesus' teaching in Luke 6, which has been referred to as 'the sermon on the plain'. In it we find Christ's familiar teaching that we are to love our enemies and bless those who hate us. 
What struck me in a fresh way was how Jesus tells us to love our enemies and then gives us specific ways that we can do that:
 
"But I tell you who hear me: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:27-28, 37)
 

We usually don't have major emotions of love for people we do not know, let alone people who mistreat us or don't like us! Jesus shows us that we can love through specific actions: speaking words of blessing about others rather than insults; praying for them; giving generously to those who we wouldn't normally give to (v. 30); and of course, choosing to forgive others.

Jesus also mentions the negative power of judging and condemning others. We must resist the temptation to judge and condemn others, which usually happens in our private thoughts, because these make it much more difficult to act in the positive ways Jesus previously described. Once we've formed negative judgements and condemning conclusions about others, we have created major barriers in being able to bless them through our speech, our prayers and through generosity.

These are days when people are watching and looking at the spiritual fruit of our lives. Jesus tells us that "each tree is recognized by its own fruit. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart...for out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks". (v. 44-45) We must resist the temptation to make quick judgements and embrace the actions that Jesus said would demonstrate that we are children of the Most High God.

Jesus invites us to actions that demonstrate that we are children of the Most High God who is 'kind to the ungrateful and the wicked'. Jesus calls us to "be merciful, just as your Father is merciful". (v. 36)

I encourage you to take time to read over Luke 6 and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about it and to show you specific opportunities to love others as Jesus' taught us.

Blessings to you this summer,
Jim