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Lent 4: Do Unto Others 
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Hi <<First Name>>,


Last week’s Living Lent study, focused on a passage that some describe as Jesus’ mission statement. Here’s where we begin to see how the rubber hits the road and what that looks like in practice. Throughout the teachings of Jesus, we are given glimpses and insights into this new world that God is creating. And that brings us to this passage...
 

Reading

Luke 6:31-36

Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 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. 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. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
 

Reflection

The instruction to “do unto others” is not about reacting to situations but rather about initiating action. Instead of just being passive responders, Jesus is calling people to take initiative and act. Do we want others to treat us well? Do we want others to stand up for us? Do we want others to listen carefully to us? Do we want others to support us if we’re struggling or needing help? Then that is how we should actively treat others.

We should take the initiative and treat people in a way which we want to be treated. However, there’s a further plot-twist in Jesus’ teaching. It would be tempting to just do this for people who are like us or for people who might return the favour. But if you read the rest of this passage in Luke 6:32-36, you’ll see that Jesus asks us to include those who won’t be able to pay us back. In fact, Jesus goes much further than just including those who may not be able to pay us back or return the favour. Jesus asks us to love our enemies. Yes, that’s as shocking now as it was in the ancient world. It’s so counter-cultural.
 

But the clincher in this episode is the final line (6:36), where Jesus asks us to be merciful to others in the same way as God is merciful. As we’ll see next week, mercy is about using your time, energy, resources, choices and power to benefit and aid those who cannot help themselves. That’s exactly how the Father has treated us. We were unable to save ourselves, and yet God was merciful. Now God asks that we initiate and demonstrate mercy to others— even others that we may be tempted to exclude. God didn’t exclude us from his mercy, we shouldn’t exclude others either. Therefore, we should do unto others, as God has done to us.

In light of the events in Christchurch, its appropriate to reflect on how we act towards the Muslim community, and how we can continue to act towards those affected by the events of March 15th.  This is a crucial time for us to take the initiative and follow the example of Jesus. 
 

Prayer

Merciful God, thank you for taking the initiative in our lives. Thank you, Jesus, that before we knew who you were, you took the initiative in coming to earth to benefit and bless us. Thank you, Spirit of God, that you relentlessly take the initiative in drawing us closer to the Father. May we too take initiative in the lives of others, to extend mercy where it is needed.
Amen.
Until next time,

Sean

tearfund.org.nz


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