Kindness: Dissecting Luke 6
This past week I presented my youth group with a devotional from the book of Luke. My overall goal was to present them with a teaching on kindness. We all know that the Bible is all about kindness and showing people love. Most of us even know that the “Golden Rule” is found in the Bible in a couple of different places in a couple of different ways (Luke 6:31 for example).
One of the worst things going on in the life of teenagers now is bullying. The news tells us there the problem, personal experience shows it to us (in my middle school days I was a bully and bullied myself ). While the Bible may not mention bullies and how to deal with them exactly, the Bible does talk about our enemies. To some extent I would say that bullies and people who are being unkind fall into the category of bullying. Unfortunately, the Bible tells us basically the last thing that we want to hear when someone is being mean to us, or insulting us, or stealing from us. The Bible says to kill them with kindness.
“As I started to talk about Luke 6 and how it related to kindness, I began to realize how profound the passage was”
Exhibiting kindness is the standard of excellence in society. However, we do not always feel like it. We want to take judgment into our own hands. We want to get back at people when they do wrong to us. This is not the way that God intends for us to live. Currently, almost every student in my youth group has a sibling that attends as well. As you can imagine, this leads to plenty of arguments and disorder at times. While some weeks go by without much happening, there is always a week or two where it seems that rather than showing kindness to their sibling, they would rather yell at them, or fight them, or belittle them in some way or another. When I was young this was a bigger problem for me, but as I grew up I chose to ignore my brother more than fight with him.
Seeing a need for a Biblical understanding on kindness in the youth group, I created a devotional on it. As I started to talk about Luke 6 and how it related to kindness, I began to realize how profound the passage was. I had prepared the topic for the night, and my goal was to read a few verses and talk about it. However, in the little time we had I started to see exactly how much could be drawn from the passage. I saw how much of it we were missing in day-to-day lives. It is for that reason that I would like to expound upon the chapter a bit more and hopefully teach others (and myself) a little more about kindness.
Love For Enemies
The section of Luke 6 that I am looking at in particular begins in verse 27. Jesus is speaking to his disciples and to a crowd of people. The first thing Jesus says is to love and enemies, and to do good to those who hate us. If this is not an opening that draws attention, then I do not know what is. The statement is just as counter-cultural today as it was over 2000 years ago. Furthermore, Jesus says that we are to bless them and pray for them. These are the bullies in the world. Jesus wants us to love them, pray for them, and even bless them.
If you are like me, you’re thinking “this sucks.” There is no way I want to do anything remotely good for people who I “hate” and think of as enemies. In 6:29 we see the famous passage where Jesus says that to turn the other cheek. Jesus tells us that if someone steals our coat, we should also give them our shirt. There are some people who would take this to the extreme. They say we should never express any form of violence whatsoever. Even if someone came into a room and started shooting people, the extreme would say to pray for redemption and leave our fate in His hands. This is not something that I subscribe to. If we can do something to stop someone who is committing such a great evil; I believe there is some kind of moral responsibility to do so.
Jesus says that we are to give to everyone who asks it. He also says not ask for things back that are taken without our permission. This is a really hard practice. Check out this store of my experience with this.
One summer I was living with a particularly difficult person. They were constantly trying to take things from me. He stole from me, and constantly demanded that I give him more after I had already gave him more than his fair share of things. I knew that he was going to steal from me anyway, so I tried to bargain with him by giving him half of what I had (the whole thing was rightfully mine). My mistake was assuming that this would be enough and he would leave my half alone. I was wrong, after he went through all that I had given to him, he continued by taking my half as well. I had come across these verses so I was trying to follow them but it did not seem to do me any good.
Was I supposed to continue to let this guy take advantage of me? At what point do we need to stand up for ourselves and say enough is enough? According to these passages the direct answer would be never. However, personally I think that we need to recognize where the lines are. We cannot let people take advantage of us for the sake of kindness. Instead, kindness may actually mean to stop enabling someone and help them to overcome their “evilness” for lack of a better word.
Kindness and The Golden Rule
Verse 31 closes with the Golden Rule. If you think about it, I would not want someone enabling me to be a bad person. I do not want to take advantage of people so that would mean that I could stand up for myself at a point. I think that the Holy Spirit will help us in these situations. We will be able to distinguish between when we need to say enough is enough; and when to extend the kindness and grace that the Bible is talking about here.
Kindness may not always be what we think it might be. Constantly giving in to people’s demands is not kindness unless the person is really in need. Perhaps this is one way to help determine the best course of action. If giving in to what my enemies desire is going to help them see Christ then I should oblige, but if they are always trying to rip us off because we are showing kindness all the time maybe it is time for a new approach. For now I am going to let the Spirit guide my decisions. Look out for part 2!
Check out the verses in discussion here!