by Rick Warren — May 31, 2023
From The Keys to a Blessed Life
“Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.”
Luke 6:27-29 (NLT)
When you’re persecuted, harassed, or facing opposition, you need to respond with a blessing.
Jesus says in Luke 6:27-29, “Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also” (NLT).
Who does that? Not many people, actually. But that kind of response is what sets Christians apart—because it’s not natural, popular, or easy.
It takes a lot of courage to do those things! Anyone can retaliate or say something mean. But it takes a lot of courage to respond with a blessing.
God wants you to love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who hurt you, and turn the other cheek. Is that easy? No. But it’s the most powerful form of witness—and you can do it only by being filled with God’s love.
The movie The Butler shows how the Freedom Riders, who fought racism in the South during the Civil Rights Movement, trained people how to not retaliate when they were hit, spit on, cursed, or pushed, or when people threw food at them. It’s an intensely powerful scene of taking a nonviolent stance.
As I watched that scene, tears started coming down my face. I thought, “I want to be that kind of person for Jesus. I want to be that brave. I want to have a heart of courage that won’t cave in to what’s wrong, no matter what they throw at me. And I want to respond with love.”
When you refuse to retaliate and instead respond in love at work or with somebody who doesn’t like you, God will be pleased. And you’re going to be blessed.
Jesus said, “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-12 NLT).
Jesus paid a price for you. And he says there’s a price to be paid for following him. When you’re a Christian, popularity on Earth is not a guarantee—but your reward in heaven is a guarantee.