The Lord’s Crazy, Counter-Intuitive, Upside Down, Against-All-My-Feelings-And-Emotions Command

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35-36

Has someone hurt you, taken advantage of you, ripped you off or insulted you?

You could take revenge. You could treat them as they treated you. You could hurt them back. You could take something of theirs. You could insult them back or badmouth them to others.

But if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you don’t have these options. Jesus says, “I’m going to tell you something completely counter-intuitive. Something absolutely crazy. Something that will go against all your feelings and emotions. And something that you can’t possibly do in your own strength. Yet when you do it it will demonstrate that you are a son or daughter of mine. And you will experience blessing you couldn’t imagine.”

What is this crazy counter-intuitive command?

Love your enemies. Do good to those who abuse you. If they insulted you yesterday, but this morning come asking for a loan, give it to them. Everything in you will want to say, “Are you crazy? Did you forget what you said to me yesterday? Have you forgotten what you did? And now you want to borrow some money from me? You must be stupider than you look!”

But that’s not what you must do. You must say, “Sure. I’ll lend you as much as I’m able. Hope this helps. Anything else I can do for you?”

Not only must you do good to your enemy, but you must not expect him to pay you back –  “…expecting nothing in return.” There’s something inside us that thinks if I do good to someone, then he’ll be grateful and do good back to me. (Believe me, I’ve thought this). But it doesn’t usually work that way. Often they’ll take the good you do them and won’t even thank you for it.

So we should expect nothing in return from our enemies when we do good to them. No thanks, no gratitude, no appreciation, no love in return. No expectation they will change. What we should expect is that they will be ungrateful and unappreciative. If they happen to be grateful, that will be a bonus.

Yet we can expect something in return – from the Lord.

Jesus will reward us. He can change their hearts if he wants to and many times he will. But we must not expect anything in return from those we do good to. God is the one who rewards us.

When we do good to those who abuse us, we prove we are sons and daughters of the Most High who is kind to the ungrateful and evil. Every day he showers multitudes with incredible blessings and doesn’t get one word of thanks in return. Yet he keeps pouring out his blessings and kindness.

When we obey the Lord, even when it seems crazy, he rewards us. He fills us with joy. He gives us a sense of his pleasure.

Oh how we need the power the Holy Spirit to love our enemies. But remember, Jesus never commands us to do anything he won’t give us the power to do if we ask him.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.