How Do We Measure Up?

Luke 6: 27-38
Col 3: 12-17 / Psa 150

For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
(Luke 6:38)

Let our yardstick be compassion,
To measure each mistake or wrong;
Kindness in every occasion
Eases the pain and makes us strong.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 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. 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 sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6: 27-38)

Reflection

Our Lord Jesus teaches us the essentials of true Christian living: give back love in exchange for hate, blessings for curses, prayers for hurts; be generous even to the takers, and never expect anything in return; do not judge or condemn, but instead forgive and be merciful.

We find it so easy to express our love in our brotherhood because it is readily reciprocated. We casually do favors for each other because caring and harmony are integral in our culture. We pray for God’s blessings on those who are kind to us, and we turn the other cheek only to greet each other with a kiss. But our Lord asks us, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Lk.6:32) Jesus wants us to bring our loving to a higher level. “But rather, love your enemies and do good to them… then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High.” (Lk.6:36) How do we behave in other places or circumstances outside our community?

Loving our enemy might be easier said than done, but it can be done if we set aside our hurts or biases for the sake of a higher purpose. That purpose is to win him over from his errant ways. If our enemy has sinned against us, Jesus is telling us that instead of hating him, we must instead show him genuine mercy because he is the one encumbered by his sin. As a Christian, it behooves us to show him love and understanding in order to lead him back to repentance and conversion. Condemning him will only alienate him further. This kind of love that we must show our enemies is therefore not an emotional feeling, but an act of will. It takes determination to rise above our feelings and personal values in order to win the battle against evil. Heed the words of St. Paul: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them… Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all” (Rom 12:14,17-18).

Father, I pray for those who have offended me, and ask You to forgive them, as I pray for the grace to love them through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for the precious lessons that we have learned from the teachings of our Lord Jesus, making us realize that winning a soul for You is far more important than all our hurts and shame. Amen.

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