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Listen while you read: "O Jesus I Have Promised"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 6:27-33 – To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the supple moves of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more payback. Live generously. Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? (MSG)
Do you like tongue twisters? Here's an old favourite: "What noise annoys an oyster most? A noisy noise annoys an oyster most." I doubt that noise annoys oysters at all since they can't hear. But I do know what does annoy them the most, along with clams and mussels: sand!
My wife and I live near bountiful mussel beds. We canoe out past an island not far from our property, and within minutes, we have a feast fit for a king or queen, or anyone else who likes shellfish. We have grown fond of them served in many ways. One thing that we have to worry about is finding a pearl! It isn't pleasant biting down on a rock-hard pearl!
Bivalve mollusks can't get rid of a piece of sand very easily — though they find it very irritating — so they have come up with a unique solution. They excrete a fluid which encompasses the sand and then hardens. The end result of the irritation is a beautiful pearl. These pearls can be worth their weight in gold, and can be used as medicines, beauty treatments, and a host of other beneficial things.
When we face irritation, two recourses are open to us: to get rid of the irritation in any way we can, or to surround the irritation with beauty, like the mussel, clam, or oyster. It's really the same with people who irritate us. We can find ways of avoiding them, rejecting them, and, if worse comes to worst, ignoring them. Or we can do it Jesus' way.
Jesus says that there are people out there who will consider themselves our sworn enemies no matter what happens. I don't know if we can win them over or not, but we can transform our attitude of irritation and bring about something new. What to do with the enemy? Jesus says to try an extra big dose of love — the kind of love that loves no matter what response is received, and goes right on loving no matter what are the outward circumstances. Christ-followers should be the first in line to show mercy, because those of us who have been forgiven much, love much. "If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal." (Luke 7:47b MSG)
Luke 6:30 – If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more payback. Live generously. (MSG)
Prayer: God, I wish that I knew how to love as You do — but I don't — so I need Your help to offer this prayer. Lord, I ask You to bless those I find most irritating, realizing that many may find that I can be just as maddening at times. Pour out Your grace upon them, and fill their hearts with a deep desire to love and serve You. Teach me to love others as You do. Amen.
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Thanks for the encouraging words, Kenn.
Thank you, Kenn. Good advice, not always easy to follow!
Such an awesome devotional, so thought provoking. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Blessings.
Wonderful. Thank you for your reminder to us of this important lesson. Shalom.
Tough love for some to hear but a good message to practise. My son spent some money to help 2 immigrants with 7 children whom he met on the street. Paying it forward I believe. Thanks for the message today.
Greetings Kenn and many thanks for your very meaningful devotional today. What a great and peaceful world we would have today if everyone would reach out to others showing the kind of love shown by Jesus. Your closing prayer says volumes and relays words we each need to heed. Lord’s blessings upon you for your very positive and special writings.
Thank you Kenn for this amazing message. We can never be reminded of this too often.
We had a very ugly situation in our community which ended up in court and no one won and everyone lost something.
It took me a while to come to grips with the outcome. What is done is done! There is much animosity against the couple that caused the situation. When I was angry at them, they had power over me. I finally let it go, took a few years, but I am at peace with it now.
When I speak to the people who caused the problem, my relatives look at me like a traitor or that I am playing both sides of the fence. We fought, we lost. Now move on!
Thank you for your reminder.
Good morning Kenn,
I loved hearing about your trips to get mussels to enjoy. I did not know that mussels could make pearls so first I looked up to see how often that might happen and it said 1 in 1000. I learned how many different ways pearls are used. Then I looked to see where West Petspeswick was in Nova Scotia.
Of course, that is not the pearl of wisdom you were hoping for us to grasp from your devotional. This is a great message in Luke and holds a lot of wisdom for us. I think this kind of love which takes thought and practice is like a pearl which is caused by an irritation and becomes a beautiful object. If we practice this kind of love from an irritation and succeed, we will also get a beautiful pearl. God can help us get there because we definitely need understanding, patience, insight, empathy, and the love of Jesus to succeed.
I join with you in your prayer, asking God to help me take the right step forward. Thank you and blessings.