Saturday 9th March – Luke 6:27-28 ‘Divine wisdom’

Luke 6:27-28

When I used to work in London, I had a very difficult client, who for a while made my life a misery.  Nothing was ever good enough, and whilst the work we did for her was generally of a high standard, I remember one particular occasion when I made a small mistake and got a real dressing-down. 

I’d never experienced quite this level of ferocity before with any client, it was almost vindictive in its rage.  Despite having been in the role I was in for nearly ten years, and thinking (naively) that I’d seen most things under the sun when it came to the work I did, I was at a loss to know how to deal with it.  I was tense and unhappy, and – as we’d signed a long-term contract with this client – this feeling persisted for some weeks.

Then, one morning, as I was waiting on the platform for the train into work, I sensed the Lord say: ‘Pray for her.’  I didn’t like this at all!  Lord, why on earth should I do that?  I grumbled away inwardly to myself for a few minutes and then decided that I should, reluctantly, have a go.

So I prayed.  I forgave her and then I asked God to bless her.  Almost immediately I could sense my whole attitude to her change.  This thought suddenly came into my mind: can you imagine how unhappy she is, that she treats people like this?  What pain or sadness must there be?  At once I began to see her differently, and even to feel the stirrings of something I thought I could never feel for her: compassion.

Over the weeks and months that followed, I got into the habit of praying for her every week.  I don’t know if my prayers for her made a great difference, though our relationship did improve: but they certainly made a great difference to me.  That compassion I felt on the platform never left me.

Today’s passage is one of those extraordinary pieces of Jesus’ teaching that’s so crazy that only God could have thought of it.  Loving your enemies?  Doing good to those who hate you?  Blessing and praying for those who ill-treat you?  What strange ideas these are!  And yet…. and yet, anyone who’s tried it will know that, bizarrely, it works. As we pray for these people, a remarkable thing happens.  Our hearts change.  And as they change, we become more like Jesus, whose heart always seeks to bless, even those who hate him.  We enter the very centre of Christ’s own heart.

As you reflect today, you may not have a real personal ‘enemy’: but is there someone you could pray for in the way that Jesus commends?  In faith, we trust that it will make a difference to them; but I can testify that it will certainly make a difference to you.