Luke 6:31-36: And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, Scripture says. Every word of God is life for man. And reading the Gospel, we have the opportunity to drink from this fountain of life. The very words of the Good News are life-giving, for they are suffused with the Holy Spirit. The fulfillment of these words is the way to the Kingdom of the Father.
As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise, says Christ, thus setting a high bar for His disciples, calling them (that is, us) to an active position in life. It is no longer “an eye for an eye” or “a tooth for a tooth,” and it’s not a call simply to not do to others what you yourself don’t want. It is a call to do, a call to live and act. But how should we live and act? Not as is customary among the sons of this age, not as is characteristic of this fallen world. Christians should withstand the worldly spirit; their business is to be foolish for Christ’s sake and commit acts that do not fit into the Procrustean bed of common sense.
“Strike a preemptive blow against your opponent,” says modern morality. Love ye your enemies, says Christ. “Make a profit at any cost,” we hear on every corner. Lend, hoping for nothing again, the Son of God calls us.
But if we look deeper, then we will understand that the Gospel is not proposing a new morality; it’s not building some kind of moral system. The Gospel does not deal with ethical issues in general. It simply shows us a way of life—the way of eternal life.
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again—it would seem easy to say, but how difficult to fulfill. It is indeed not easy to fulfill, but Christ showed us the example of His life and His death. He truly loved His enemies, even praying on the Cross for those who crucified Him. He did good works: He comforted, He healed, He resurrected. He has given us His entire self; He became man for us, lived for us, and died for us—and He demands nothing from us for Himself in return.
To love one’s enemies is nearly impossible for those who have no hope in the future life. An enemy is one who inflicts pain, who causes suffering. How could he be forgiven? How can you love him? It is impossible—unless we remember that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8). We constantly inflict pain and suffering upon God—but He always pardons and forgives us.
It is extremely difficult to do good and lend without expecting anything, especially if you receive in return not “nothing,” but malice, slander, and reproach. But Christ endured all of this—misunderstanding, envy, persecution, blasphemy, slander, malice, beatings, crucifixion, and death. And He not only thereby gave us an example—He is ready to help us in our every good deed. He supports our feeble hand, strengthens us in times of weakness and despair, and gives us hope in what seem like hopeless situations.
Christ promises a great reward for the fulfillment of His words: Ye shall be the children of the Highest. What could be higher than that? Christ is the Son of God, and we will be sons of God. The Heavenly Father is kind to us, ungrateful and wicked—and we will be like Him if we do the same. The Lord is merciful, and we have the happy opportunity to draw near to our Creator and Savior, if we do not seek justice for ourselves, if we do not treat others legalistically, but work so that our hearts would be forgiving, merciful, and loving.