Luke 6:27-36

“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36

Do you remember kids getting into fights in grade school or middle school? Word would pass like wildfire that a fight was brewing. Somewhere on the property two kids would square off. One kid was usually a bully. All the other kids would surround them. They’d yell, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” The adrenaline would flow. And then it would be over, one kid would give up or a teacher would come and finish it for them. A trip to the principal’s office and life would go on.

Is that really any different than the constant din of division we live with these days?

Do we really believe that “if they hit me, I hit them back twice as hard” holds the promise of a better life?

Maybe we do. If so, it is time to grow up. Because there is another way of being that is better for everyone. It is right here in the words of Jesus. Love your enemies. Do good. Share what you have. Hold your stuff lightly and show your love deeply, regardless of personal cost, regardless of the fear that you’ll be left with nothing. That is the Jesus way and it is how he lived his life.

Imbedded in Jesus’ words is what we have come to call the Golden Rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” This is very different than “Might Makes Right”or the Gold Rule, “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

To do unto others as we would have them do unto us” is not a uniquely Christian concept just as there is nothing uniquely Christian about the call to love our neighbor. These are universal concepts because they are rooted in how God creates the world to be. Every call to unity, to cooperation, to striving toward better lives for all, is rooted in this simple – though difficult – God-given principle.

Bahá’í Faith – Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.

Buddhism – Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

Confucianism – One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct….loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.

Hinduism – This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.

Islam – Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.

Jainism – One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.

Judaism – What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, you have laid out a way for us to be in the world with one another – to love those with whom we disagree, to share what we have, to let go. Help us practice what your preach, that the light of your love might shine through us in a dark and divided world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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