November 20, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO TEACH US TO BE KIND (part 1)

Luke 9:51-56
And it came to pass, when the time was come, that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, the said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

The Jews and the Samaritans had a long history of animosity and hatred toward each other. That is why it was not a strange thing that Jesus was treated rudely and refused when He sought accommodations in Samaria. Most Jews avoided Samaria altogether when traveling between Galilee and Jerusalem, but Jesus chose to go through this hostile land—evidently to demonstrate His love for all people and to use the opportunity to teach a few things to His disciples. Among these lessons is that mercy needs to be cultivated in our lives as much as righteousness.

Doing right and living a moral life is PART of what it means to follow Christ, but so is being kind, loving, and gracious, even toward those who seemingly do not deserve it. Jesus taught that we are to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. He told us we are to forgive, be gracious, and show kindness, even to those who spitefully abuse us. Granted, this sometimes can be incredibly hard, but it is the essence of what it means to be a Christian. I am persuaded that He is able to help us learn to treat people the way Jesus would.