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Luke 6:27 Deep Dive // This Is A Non-Negotiable
"Can I live this verse out? How do I live this verse out? Jesus, help me live this verse out." — Natalie Abbott

Is loving our enemies really a non-negotiable for Christians? If we're being honest, our verse this month is a hard one to live out. What is Jesus calling us to believe that we aren’t believing? Why is it a non-negotiable to love our enemies? And how can we live that way? Join Natalie Abbott, co-founder of Dwell Differently, as she walks us through the context of this passage, looking at the 2 ways of living Jesus talks about, why loving our enemies is non-negotiable, and the difference it makes when we consider the mercy of God and his kindness toward us. We pray this verse would take root today, encouraging you to live in a way that is beautiful and otherworldly and, most importantly, like our Father.

SEPTEMBER DWELL VERSE

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” — Luke 6:27

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You've Watered Down the Golden Rule by Natalie Abbott

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: Hey, welcome back to the Dwell Differently podcast. I'm your host, Natalie Abbott. And today is our teaching episode for September and guys, this verse, it's quite the verse. It's one you might be familiar with. But as we kind of dig into it, I hope that it becomes something that really impacts you throughout this month as you memorize it and meditate on it. (READ MORE)

Would it be that it would change our lives and make us more like Jesus. So here's our verse for the month. It's Luke 6:27. “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.” All right, guys, that is quite the calling, isn't it? I mean, I tell you what, as I've been praying over this and learning more about this verse, it has just been such a gut punch, really, for me personally to think about whether or not I'm living this verse out. Can I live this verse out? How do I live this verse out? Jesus help me live this verse out. So we're going to dive straight into the context, and we're going to talk about the 2 ways of living that are on offer here by Jesus in this sermon that he gives. 

It's in Luke chapter six. It's a short sermon. It's kind of like a sermon on the mount type sermon, but it's much shorter. It's only 30 verses. Some people call it the sermon on the plane. And so Jesus offers us these two ways of living which we're going to look at in this context.

And then specifically, we're going to zoom into our verse, and its tinier context and what it’s calling us to do. How is it calling us to live? What is it calling us to believe that maybe we're not believing for sure. For me, this has, like I said, been kind of a gut punch. In some ways, I hope it is for you too.

Let's go ahead and look at the context of the sermon on the plane. That'll give us kind of this idea, this bigger picture of what Jesus is teaching in this passage of scripture.

So, when we think about this verse, as we learn this verse, it would actually be more meaningful to us that we would really be able to contextualize it for ourselves and know what exactly Jesus is asking from us. In the sermon on the plain, Jesus gives us these two ways of living. For those of you who are probably more familiar with the sermon on the mount, it kind of starts out the same way. “Blessed are those who…” this And “Woe to those…” 

He gives you these different contrasts of two ways of living. Are you going to live like the prophets, or are you going to not live like the prophets? Are you going to live as sons of the Most High, or are you going to live as sinners? Are you going to be blind, or are you going to see? Are you going to be a good tree, or a bad tree? Are you going to build your house on the rock, or are you going to build your house on the sand?  I'm going to just go through those really quickly with you so that you can kind of see the contrast that Jesus is setting up for us. 

The first way is whether you're going to live like a prophet or not. He says, “Blessed are the poor, the hungry, the sad, the hated, because the world also hated those kinds of people who are the prophets” (i. e. my representatives). So the people who look like me, my representatives, the prophets don't maybe look like the richest people in the world. They don't maybe look like the happiest people or the most loved people.

The world is going to hate you a little bit, but “Woe to those who are rich, who are full, who laugh now, who are loved now, who the world loves because the world also loved the false prophets,” Okay? So it's setting up two different ways of living.

Are you going to be more concerned about your comfort and wealth and these things and kind of go along with the [00:04:00] world? Or are you going to be more concerned with the things of God? Are you going to be somebody who represents me, who is happy to give up things in order to follow me? And to love others? Then he says, are you going to be sons of the Most High, or are you going to be sinners? And that's where we find our verse. And we also find this, turn the other cheek. You know, that's a saying that we're very familiar with. And we've heard it many times. If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek, that's where we find this. Again, it's this really stark dichotomy, right? Between are you going to live like this? Or are you going to live like this? Are you going to be comfortable? Are you just going to love the people who love you? Or are you going to give up your coat to somebody who has already just taken the shirt off your back? Love your enemies and do good. 

Then we find the other huge stark image of, are you going to live like you have a board in your eye and just judge other people? And just walk around not realizing your own sin? Or are you going to pull that out of your eye in order to help others pull the speck out of their eye? 

Okay. Then he goes on and says, are you going to be a good tree? Or are you going to be a bad tree? He says, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.” In other words, the things that you're producing are reflective of what's going on inside you. And that same passage, he says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart. And an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.” So it's a heart issue. Is your heart in the right place? And if so, it will reflect that in the kind of fruit that it bears. The kind of things that you produce in your life. 

And then finally, Jesus wraps it all up with that familiar, “The wise man built his house upon the rock.” If you know [00:06:00] that song. He gives you this parable about the person who listens to him and does what he says builds his house on the rock. But the person who does not listen builds his house on the sand, and woe to that man because the destruction is just huge.

There you see the two different ways of living. The two different ways of believing. The two different ways of your heart that Jesus is exposing here and saying, you have a choice to make. You only have two choices, actually. Are you going to do this? You're going to listen to me? You're going to follow me? You're going to live like me? Or are you going to follow yourself? Follow your own desires and do what you want to do?

That’s where we find the context of our passage. And why do I tell you all of that? Why does that matter? Because what Jesus is saying to us about loving our enemies in our verse is not optional. Jesus says this is a non negotiable. You must love your enemies. If you're gonna look like me, if you're gonna follow me, if you're gonna live how I have lived, if you're gonna love like I've loved you, then you're gonna love your enemies. And we'll get to that because that's hard, but 1st, let's just read the direct context of our passage.

I'm going to read it to you. It's verses 27 through verse 36 

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

That last part there is just so beautiful. “Then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.Be merciful just as your father is merciful.” That right there is the hinge point. That is the why, that's the reason, that's everything. But we'll get to that in just a minute. Before we do so, I want to talk about what the world says is totally right and just fine. In this passage, Jesus says, this is how the sinners behave.

In other words, the people who don't follow me, he's categorizing them like that. You're either in this particular section, a child of the most high. And you look like him or you're a sinner and you look like the world. So what does it look like to live in the world and to look like the world? Uh, you love the people who love you.

That makes sense. I love the people who love me. I love loving the people who love me. I love that reciprocating love. You do good to those who are good [00:10:00] to you. You lend to the people who are going to pay you back, right? This is all common sense. This all makes sense to me. Yes, it is fair. In fact, did you guys notice the golden rule in there?

It was kind of midway through it says “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” That's the golden rule. Our society, Americans, love the golden rule. You learn the golden rule, whether you're a Christian or not. You're like, yeah, yeah. I like that. I like that. It's fair. It's equal.

You do to people what you want them to do to you. You lend to the people who are going to pay you back. It's just how it is. This is a contractual kind of living. Right. It is a fairness model that we like. Now I'm going to poke at you a bit because I think that this is something that we struggle with.

How many of our relationships are contractual? You do this for me, then I'll do this for you. You scratch my back, I'll scratch your back. Or somebody did this nice thing for me and I really need to pay him back. Right. I kind of owe them. Are your friendships like this?

Do you have contractual friendships where it's like, I mean, I called them the last five times and I'm the one that keeps reaching out. And where are they? How come they're not calling me back? How come they're not the one reaching out? Maybe they don't want to be my friend.

And I'm not saying we're doing this in our awareness— this is like a subconscious thought process that we have. For those of you who are parents, do we have contractual relationships with our kids? I confess, man, I really struggle with this one. It's like, if you do this, then you get this, right? There's equality here. If you treat me this way, if you give me respect as your parent, then I'm going to, you know, be [00:12:00] more likely to want to take you out for ice cream. 

What about our dating relationships or our marriage relationships? Jason, my husband and I, do a lot of premarital counseling and marriage counseling. And I would say this is one of the number one problems in our marriages. It's like, “Oh, well, you went out with your friends on Friday night. Well, what do I get? Do I get to go out with my friends on Saturday?” And it's this keeping of accounts, this absolute 50/50 fairness that we're looking for.

And I'm going to tell you guys, it is counter gospel. It is not good news because you're always living under the guilt of that tally mark against you of what you got to do, or you are the person who is holding that tally sheet. You are the person who is like lording it over the other person. It's my turn. I'm going away for a girl's weekend. Bye. You take the kids. Right? That is not a healthy way of living out any of the relationships in our lives because the gospel says we love God and then we love others and then we take care of ourselves. Right? In a perfect relationship, if I'm loving that other person, say my husband Jason really well, then I'm looking to his needs and his desires and his goals.

And he says, I want to have a guy's weekend. I'm like, get out. Enjoy yourself. I'm not going to hold it over your head. And you know what? When it comes to my turn, he's going to be like, go have a great time. Do you see how this is like a beautiful kind of thing? But anyway, I'm getting off task.

Contractual relationships are the norm. It's what we're used to. We're used to this is equal, fair is square. We're going to do it this [00:14:00] way. It's the Golden Rule. This is the way we like to interpret the Golden Rule, I should say. But if you read it in its context, it's completely upside down. 

So that's what we're going to do. We're going to take this “Do unto others as you would have them do to you,” And we're going to look at what Jesus actually is saying. Because if it falls in that same paragraph as love your enemies, and pray for them and bless them, That's a whole different kind of other. That's a whole nother other than the other that we think it is, which is the people who are like us.

And if you want to read more about that specifically, how those two concepts, the golden rule and this love your enemies get together, then in this first blog post that I wrote for September, that's where you can read more about that. And that's at dwelldifferently. com. That's a little plug for that.

But right now, let's just look at what Jesus is pressing into us. So the world says, love the people who love you. Do good to those who are good to you. Lend to those who you expect repayment. But Jesus says this, “Love your enemies,” the people who you don't like, the people who annoy you, the people who are ungrateful and unkind. “Do good to those who hate you,” the people who hate you. Do good. That's like an action. That's not just love like in a kind of ethereal way. That's do good to them. Bless those who curse you. Pray for the people who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, give them the other cheek. If someone takes your coat, give them your shirt too.

Give to everyone who asks you. And if anyone takes what belongs to you, don't demand it back. Then you get the summation verse for all of that due to others, i. e. your enemies, as you would have them do to you. Guys, why? What does he say, [00:16:00] then your reward will be great. Then you will be children of the most high because he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked be merciful. Just as your father is merciful. Now, that takes me to that sentence— you will be children of the most high because he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Do you know who the ungrateful and the wicked are? That's me. I'm the ungrateful. I am the wicked. I am the fruitless tree. I am the house on the sand.

I am the person who wants to be rich and comfortable instead of poor and generous. I don't want to love my enemy. I don't want to love like that. I don't want to be stretched or pushed. I just want to be comfortable. That's who I am. And in my sin, in my selfishness. Even in my ungrateful wickedness, God the Father was merciful to me.

He sent Jesus to love me still while I was an enemy of God, the one and only truly good man. The only good human God man gave his life for me. He did all of these things. He loved his enemies. He did good to those who hated him. He blessed us when we cursed him. He prayed for us when we mistreated him.

When we slapped him on the cheek, he gave his whole self. He didn't demand back anything. He did to others what he wishes that we would do for each other. And so this passage says, “be merciful, just as your father is merciful,” just as [00:18:00] Jesus was merciful and how he treats us now. So the reason I read all that context is because this is a non negotiable. This is the very heart of our God, to love our enemies, because we have been loved, because we were God's enemies. And I'm not going to say it's going to be easy. I'm not going to say you're going to want to do it all the time, but when we consider the mercy of God and his kindness to us in our ungrateful, rebellious state, We should want to be merciful.

So I'm going to pray right now that Jesus would help us have hearts that desire to love our enemies. Jesus, you are truly merciful and you loved us so well. You loved us when we were thumbing our noses at you and we were cursing you and we hated you in our hearts when we were following our own selfish ways.

And some of us, I mean, even now we do that. We do that all the time. I do that. I don't love my enemies. Well, I don't even pray for the people that I love. Well, I don't love the people that I love. Well, and yet Jesus, you call us to live like this because you have lived like this. You have loved like this.

Help us please live like this. And as we memorize this verse about loving our enemies, would it sink down deep in us? Would you help us to, to love? That annoying person that gets on our nerves that we don't like. That person who isn't kind to us. Would we do good to them? Help us pray for them and bless them in our lives. Help us have hearts like your heart. Make us more like you, Jesus. Amen. 

All right, friends. Thank you so much for joining me today. I know it was a little long, but I hope that this verse would really just [00:20:00] take root and help you become the good tree, the house on the rock, the person who really is living in a way that is beautiful and otherworldly and heavenly and like our father.

Dwell Blog/Podcast Featured Content

Natalie Abbott

Natalie Abbott is the co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Dwell Differently. She lives in Missouri with her husband and 5 kids.

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