Luke 6:27-36 (ESV)

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Jesus expects his disciples to love in a way consistent with those who have experienced the total forgiveness of God. The Greek verb used here for “love” is agapao, and its noun form is the commonly known agape. This love often describes the love of a higher for a lower. It is not a natural love, based on feelings, emotions, or what those around us “deserve,” but a supernatural, others-oriented love that seeks to do and respond to others in a way that is best for them and their spiritual growth. In these verses, we see seven general exhortations. The first is to love our enemies (v. 27). The Christian is called to go above and beyond what is considered normal. Second, Jesus calls us to do good to those who hate us (v. 27). Even when people stand against us, we are called to help them be reconciled to God. Third, Jesus commands us to “bless” or speak well of those who don’t speak so well of us (v. 27). Fourth, Jesus asks us to pray for those who give us a hard time. Fifth, verse 29 says we are not to retaliate. We let God settle things in his timing. Sixth, we are to be generous with others (vv. 29-30). And seventh, we should treat other people the way we want to be treated (v. 31). We usually don’t have a hard time dealing graciously with ourselves. We understand why we messed up, and we let ourselves off the hook. God is “over the top” generous with his kids, and he expects us to extend his kindness to others (v. 35).

Jesus declared (John 13:35) that the world has the right to judge whether you are following him based on the way you love others. This is not optional or selective love. If you have been totally pardoned from all of your wrongdoing by a flawless and almighty God, then you must love. If you don’t love the way Jesus called you to, then either you don’t really know him or you are forgetting the incredible mercy he has showered upon you (v. 36). Be honest. To whom in your life are you failing to show supernatural love? If you really want to be like your Father, a “godly woman,” then choose to love that person. Display the mercy you have received from God by extending it to others.