ODJ: Loving the Unlovable

July 30, 2018 

READ: Luke 6:27-36 

Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (v.28).

The rows of school desks would soon be filled with energetic teens. Although I was only filling in for their teacher, I took my role seriously. As the first lesson was about to start, the door was flung open and in walked a woman who announced herself as my teaching assistant. Fantastic! I thought. I need the help.

What I didn’t realise was the misery she would bring into my life. She undermined me in front of the students and tried to control every lesson. I felt defeated and couldn’t see a way forward until I felt compelled to pray for her. She was the last person I wanted to pray for, but when I did, I began to change. And then she changed. In fact, we became quite a team. When I later left that position, she gave me a gift, and we both cried as we said goodbye.

I had witnessed the power of praying for ‘enemies’—something I’ll never forget. Jesus has a challenge for those “who are willing to listen . . . love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you” (Luke 6:27-28). How, He emphasised, are His followers different from anyone else if we only love those who love us, if we only do good to those who do good to us? (vv.32-33).

It’s not easy to obey God when He commands us to walk in the difficult way of loving our enemies. But through the power of Christ’s Spirit we can grow spiritually as His children and learn to walk in ever-deeper obedience to Him (Galatians 5:16-17). In this way we will show that we are “children of the Most High” (Luke 6:35).

In God’s strength, let us “do to others as [we] would like them to do to [us]”, a reflection of our heavenly Father’s compassion for us (vv.31,36).

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day plan: John 8:21-59

Read Proverbs 25:21 for more on how we can practically love those who seem determined to frustrate and hurt us. 
Who has hurt or offended you? What can you do to begin to turn your ‘enemy’ into a friend? 
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