Sometimes the practical implications and implementation of these words of Jesus are hard to stomach:
“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.”
It is one thing to read those words in theory and quite another to put them into practice in the very real presence of the ungrateful and wicked, especially those who have proven through time that they won’t change nor respond to the Gospel. Even worse can be trying to love those you trusted who then betrayed you.
Along with Jeremiah (chap. 12) and Asaph (Psalm 73) I ask: “Why do the wicked prosper?”
My prayer is: “Change my heart so I can love them in Spirit and truth.” Then the actual actions I take will flow from a right heart. I don’t want to believe one thing in theory and then find my actions are taking quite an opposite approach in practice simply because I haven’t fully internalised the truth.