A young mom tells the following story. . . . Because
of an ear infection, my young son, Casey, had to
go to the pediatrician. I was impressed with the way
the doctor directed his comments and questions to my
son. When he asked Casey, "Is there anything you are
allergic to?" Casey nodded and whispered in his ear.
Smiling, the pediatrician wrote out a prescription
and handed it to me. Without looking at it, I tucked
it into my purse.
Later, the pharmacist filled the order, remarking on
the unusual food drug interaction my son must have.
“What are you talking about?” I asked. When the
pharmacist saw my puzzled expression, he showed me
the label on the bottle. As per the doctor's
instructions, it read: "Do not take with broccoli."
As we have been studying from the Book of Luke we
have read that Jesus, the great physician, often
lays down a prescription for us too.
Luke 6 is what we call the Sermon on the Plain. It
sounds an awful lot like Matthew’s Sermon on the
Mount but is worded a little differently. Throughout
the chapter, Jesus is giving us a prescription for
how to treat others and on his list are those we
often call enemies. People who persecute us. People
who are mean and cruel and unkind. And what is the
doctor’s prescription? Love them. Pray for them. Be
kind to them. Really?
That’s hard enough with people we hardly know. But
have you discovered it’s just as difficult with
family members? I was caught up in an argument with
my grown son and at first I really tried to be like
Jesus but he said too much . . . he went too far . .
. and my inner lawyer showed up. I started bringing
charges against him presenting him with my
evidences: “Let me tell you how much I do for you,
kid, since you seem to have amnesia!”
Then I started carelessly raising my voice when out
of the corner of my eye I see I see my
wife—his mother! She had one of those looks like
“who invited the demon to the party?” It was then
I realized it’s easy to be nice when people are nice
or who you don’t really know, but nearly impossible
to be kind when people are hostile in return. I’m
pretty confident that’s why I need Jesus so badly.
The doctor’s prescription is difficult. “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” (Luke 6:27–28).
Most of the world works like this: ‘I will be nice
to people who are nice to me and I will retaliate
against people who hurt me or are mean to me.’ Jesus
is about systematically disassembling these
philosophies. This teaching right here is what
separates the major leagues from the minors. This is
what separates Christians from all other religions.
This text separates us from the entire world. Our
first reaction is usually to retaliate, but that’s
not what Jesus asks of His followers.
It’s easy to be nice to people who are nice to you.
. . . Jesus said, “Big deal!” The challenge is can
you be kind to people who haven’t been kind to you?
I don’t think this is about a war with my enemies,
nor a war with my persecutors, nor a war with people
who have been unkind. Jesus is identifying a war
waging inside of me. It’s about who I am. It’s about
me fighting me. Will I retaliate like my inner voice
wants me to or will I mimic Jesus? Will I retaliate
or will I pray for them, bless them, love them, and
turn the other cheek and forgive them? And that
ladies and gentlemen, can be a hard pill to swallow.
[Ron Otto, preaching minister at Lincoln