Luke 6:27-36 (NIV)

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.  32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.   

 Luke 6:27-28(NIV)

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.   

DEVOTION – Jerry J. Hurt (Ohio)

When I hear news of a crime, I immediately pray for the victims and their families.  It is was to pray for the victims of crime, but how can we even think about praying for the criminals?

In Luke 6:27-28, Jesus is asking us to do something that is against our basic instincts.  Our human nature too often insists that we seek revenge when someone does harm to an innocent person; we demand justice or punishment.  What Jesus asks of us seems to be impossible.

But God created and loves us all – even criminals.  As Christians, we are instructed to love and pray for all God’s people, not just the ones whom we deem good and respectable.

After all the torture and humiliation that Jesus endured during his crucifixion, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”  (Luke 23:34).  As followers of Christ, we can embrace and follow Christ’s example, beginning with prayer.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God loves all people and commands us to do likewise.

PRAYER: Dear God of grace, teach us to forgive others as you forgive us.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: CRIMINALS

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