Love your enemies. Turn the other cheek. Give without expecting anything in return. Just fine-sounding words or are you putting them into practice?
December’s Awakening, Day 31
Christ is not valued at all, unless he is valued above all.
—Augustine of Hippo
Christ loved you before you loved him.
He loved you when there was nothing good in you.
He loved you though you insulted him, though you despised him and rebelled against him.
He has loved you right on, and never ceased to love you.
He has loved you in your backslidings and loved you out of them.
He has loved you in your sins, in your wickedness and folly.
His loving heart was still eternally the same, and he shed his heart’s blood to prove his love for you.
He has given you what you need on earth, and provided for you an habitation in heaven.
Now, Christian, your religion claims from you, that you should love others, as your Master loved you. How can you imitate him, unless you love too?
With you “un”kindness should be a strange anomaly. It is a gross contradiction to the spirit of your religion, and if you do not love your neighbor, I cannot see how you can be a true follower of the Lord Jesus.
—C. H. Spurgeon
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 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. 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 children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27–36 NIV
Being a true Christ-follower requires a much higher standard of attitude and behavior than the norm of the world. We probably have a good idea of what that higher standard is, but putting it into daily practice is something altogether different. The ideology is simple to grasp, extraordinarily difficult to practice. It is service before self, others before self, love above dislike, and helping when you need help. It is looking outward to supply for a need rather than looking inward to fulfil a need. Washing the feet of others is not really a pleasant task, but seeing the smile on Jesus’s face is priceless.