You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.Luke 6:36
Recently I explored the truth that as children of God, we are all being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Our heavenly Father wants us to think, act, respond like Jesus. Compassion is one more way we should look like Jesus.
Jesus spoke these words to the crowds gathered to hear him in a message known best as the Sermon on the Mount. In Luke’s record of this message, these words conclude a pericope on loving our enemies. This is one of the most difficult teachings of Jesus – at least for me. And it directly ties to the theme of “asking” I explored earlier this week.
Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.Luke 6:30
As I read this again, I found myself pondering, “How does this make me look like Jesus?”
This is the essence of Jesus. He gives to anyone who asks, regardless if they are deserving. He gives even to those who do not ask. In Paul’s letter to Rome, he says that while we were still far away from God, before we deserved even a sideways glance, Jesus gave…he gave his life. (Romans 5:8) It is while I was an enemy of God that he showed me his deepest love.
Loving my enemies is difficult. But it is what I am to do if I want to look like Jesus. I can’t do this by myself. My reliance is on Jesus, who demonstrated it best and now gives me the ability to do supernatural things – like loving my enemies – because he lives in me. Never was I intended to do this on my own.
Perhaps that is one goal of Jesus’ teaching. He sets the bar so high to clearly show it can’t be done with human effort. I need the Holy Spirit to empower me. I need to ask for help.
And he will freely provide all I need. As Jesus told the disciples, “Give as freely as you have received!” (Matthew 10:8)
As followers of Jesus, we are invited to freely ask him for all things. Asking without doubt and with pure motives are prerequisites for receiving, but from that place of abundance, we can freely give to others. More than our money or our things, people need our love, compassion and acceptance. Jesus didn’t have material possessions to share with others, so he shared something more valuable: his life.
Who can you share your life with today?