Luke 6:27-38 (NRSV)

27 “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 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? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.  Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”   

Romans 12:14 (NRSV)

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

DEVOTION – Danielle J. Lang (Maryland)

Sometimes it seems as if every day we encounter a difficult person – weather a co-worker, a neighbor, or a family member.  We may try to avoid them, complain about them, or even confront the one who offends us.  We may spend a tremendous amount of time allowing our conflict with this person to rob us of our joy and energy.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).  In Christ we have peace.  When faced with a difficult person we can remember that we are not to “imitate what is evil but what is good” )3 John 1:11, NIV).

As difficult as it may seem, we are to speak blessings on the other person – for God blesses those who bless others.  Instead of focusing on someone’s negative attributes, we can find at least one trait that we admire or respect about the person.  Maybe they’re a hard worker or a talented musician or a caring grandparent.  Instead of gossiping about other people or arguing with them, we can pray for them.  We cloud God’s light when we allow anger or insensitivity to control us.  Once we start focusing on the positive and turn to God in prayer, God’s love can shine through us.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Today I will look for the image of God in everyone I meet.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us to speak blessings on those we find difficult to love.  Teach us to pray for them.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.