One on One With Jesus, Part 4

Actions of a Kingdom citizen

How to treat ungrateful and evil people!

In our one-on-one time with Jesus, He affirms our attitude of humility toward Him before he guides us on how to act in this world: 

At some point in our story of finding Jesus (or Jesus finding us), we realized we have no capacity to save ourselves and earn our way to righteousness. We wept and mourned over our pitiful spiritual state before a righteous God. All we can say is, ‘Lord, save me, a sinner.’  

Hopefully, you have fallen before Jesus and confessed your spiritual poverty and asked Him to save you; that is the attitude of a kingdom citizen. Blessed are you who are poor (in your own spirituality.) 

… He saves us, not on the basis of deeds we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy … Titus 3:5. 

Be saved my friends. Don’t allow your heart to be hardened one more moment. Be like the tax collector who stood on the hill, beating his chest before God and crying, be merciful to me a sinner. He came down the hill saved. You can cry before God and be saved right now too. 

Now, back to our one-on-one with Jesus today.  Jesus is discipling us today. He is guiding us and mentoring us on how we should live in this world. Jesus moves from dealing with the attitude of our humble hearts to how we should act as citizens of His kingdom while living on earth. Attitude to Action. 


We are to be different! 

I find these following words to be one of the most difficult lessons Jesus ever taught.  

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 

Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 

In our society, it is virtuous to stand up for yourself, to defend yourself, and to gain revenge for yourself. So, we must ask, is Jesus being literal or not?  

I believe these words apply to encounters of personal hostility we may encounter in daily life. This doesn’t diminish the self-defense mechanisms in place in our society to protect our families and private property. Governments, through the military, national guard, law enforcement, are set up to protect us. Additionally, citizens can certainly protect themselves from law-breakers, thieves, and criminals. In Luke 22:36, Jesus actually advised the disciples to carry a sword for self-defense. 

In this one-on-one with Jesus, He is speaking to the personal mistreatment we sometimes face, especially for our faith. The disciples listened to these words under the clear reality that they were going to become true to them. They would literally experience fists to the face, the stripping of their coats and clothes, imprisonment, and ultimately, martyrdom. 

Most likely, we do not currently experience, as they did, the tyranny and oppression of the Roman government and the hatred of the Pharisee and religious elite of their day. 

Extreme mistreatment may not happen to us. So, we have to apply these principles in practical ways in our daily lives.


What if? 

  • Another mom in your community is promoting her child as better than all others and better than yours (in sports, academics, music, etc.). She is sucking up to people of influence and is often taking liberties unethically to give her child opportunities above others. What’s your response? What lesson should you teach your child? 
  • A co-worker is subtly sabotaging your work and reputation in order to ‘promote’ themselves as better than you. What’s your response? 
  • What if you loan someone money, they promise to pay you back, but they never do? What’s your response? 

Now, let’s consider the words of Jesus: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…pray for those who mistreat you. 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 expect to receive, what is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.  

These are difficult words. This is teaching that goes directly against our natural bent to defend ourselves and destroy our enemies. The ultimate purpose, I believe, is to show love for our enemies the way that God loves ungrateful and evil people. When believers love unbelievers like God does, they show forth the transforming power of salvation. Like God, let us be compassionate, kind, merciful, forgiving, and humble. 

This is a hard teaching. If we go back to Jesus’ opening words of this session, he begins by saying, But I say to you who hear … love your enemies… My question to you is ‘are you willing to hear these words of Jesus? By being different than everyone else … loving your enemies, blessing those who curse you, giving to those who don’t give back … you reveal yourself to others as a true child of God; saved, sanctified, and redeemed by Jesus. 


Jesus, give us the grace and strength to be kind to all people, even those who are against us. Amen!