Luke 6:27-36 comes from what is know as the Sermon on the Plain ~ which contains much of the same passages as found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. For those with historical interests, some scholars believe the Sermon on the Plain and the Sermon on the Mount are recordings of the same event, summarized through the perceptions of two different authors. But in comparing the underlying Greek, the consensus of must Biblical scholars is that these were two different events. Jesus just did what all professional speakers like to do – use the same basic content, different audiences!
No matter what the context, the message is very powerful ~ Let’s take a look at the literal version, with some metaphysical interpretation thrown in. Here’s the first part:
27 “But to you who are listening I say: [I love this phrase. Jesus knew not everyone was paying attention! After all, He was speaking outside; there were lots of people; children were running around; side conversations were occurring. He also knew this message wasn’t for everyone! He knew only some in the crowd were ready to hear it! Didn’t bother Him! He threw it out there because He understood the power of the message, and knew the impact it would have on those who followed it!]
Love your enemies [I’m pretty sure some folks shut him off right then!], do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. [And now the big summary statement, what we call the Golden Rule]: 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Even from a literal point of view, this is a powerful teaching … and one not easily followed. I mean, love our enemies? Do good to those who hate us; bless those who curse us; pray for those who mistreat us? Come on … really?? This is tough, because our human self loves to hold on to grudges and hurt feelings; we seem to find enjoyment in reliving the stories of past mistreatment, and find it difficult to let go of resentments and judgments. So we carry them like badges of honor – but these badges carry a heavy weight … and a heavy price.
Jesus actually acknowledges how difficult this is later in the chapter, when he says:
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. 35But 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 children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
He’s saying (and I’m paraphrasing a little), “Hey, anyone can love someone who loves them! It’s a piece of cake to be nice to people who are good to you. Don’t get all proud-feeling about yourself for doing that! It’s no big deal! Here’s the tough challenge: Love those people who are unlovable – the ones who treat you badly; who cut you off in traffic; who steal your parking space; who take credit for your ideas at work; who shower you with verbal – and maybe even physical – abuse. Love these folks! That’s the deal! And by the way. Don’t expect anything in return. You do this because it is the highest and best thing for you to do, and you will have a great reward.
Tough enough to do, just from the literal. But we know that from a metaphysical level, this goes even deeper, because it is talking about what is going on within us! So from the New Metaphysical Version, we see that from a spiritual perspective, this passage is saying we will deepen our Truth walk if we extend unconditional love to every aspect of ourselves, including our ego-driven thoughts that seek to deny our Divinity (enemies). When we have those error thoughts that give power to the world of appearance – when we experience doubt, fear, anger, or anything that is not a reflection of Truth, we need to just acknowledge them – say “Thank you for sharing!” – give them no power other than the power of unconditional love, which transforms them into positive energy.
And we must not give any power or energy to personal attacks, ridicule, false accusations, or slights against us, but instead simply bless those who are involved.
To “metaphysicalize” the Golden Rule, we must see the Christ in and as others, just the way we want others to see the Christ in and as us!
When we are serious students of Truth, we are able to share our “light” without expecting any form of material compensation, because we know true giving IS receiving.
Okay – these are big requests … asking us to make the decision of Love as the great harmonizer and healer. Sounds wonderful … but we all know from personal experience how truly difficult this can be. So, here are a couple of “adventures” to help you put this teaching into practice – from the literal and metaphysical levels!
How to Make Love Your Decision
There is overwhelming evidence that forgiveness has a positive impact on you psychologically, physiologically, emotionally, and even spiritually. An article published by the Mayo clinic states that: “Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse”
Wow! Who wouldn’t want these things? Use this knowledge to inspire you to decide to forgive.
Adventure #1: Forgive & Release: Choose a person with whom you are currently feeling some anger, resentment, bitterness, or grudge … and you know you are hanging on to it. Maybe you are waiting for them to ask for forgiveness .. maybe it is so huge, you don’t feel capable of even thinking of forgiveness. I want to emphasize that this adventure is not for them. It is for YOU! It is an opportunity to get rid of the weight of this emotional baggage, and create a space for love in your heart. Take some time to go into a quiet state of being, and gently, lovingly explore your feelings. Breathe yourself through the process of asking yourself:
- What emotions am I feeling related to this situation?
- What specifically happened? I call this “Naming Your Heart Weight.” By describing it clearly, you make friends with it, so it can no longer take power over your consciousness. You are, in effect, loving the enemy of your error thoughts.
- Now comes the big question – take a deep breath – and ask yourself: How is holding on to these emotions serving me? What am I getting by continuing to harbor this grudge, tell this story, fuel this anger? You might be surprised by the answers that arise. You might get sympathy from others; or attention; or an opportunity to go into a self-inflicted period of rest (as you brood). Perhaps you enjoy the energy of talking about how mistreated you have been. There are lots of side benefits we fail to acknowledge that keep us hanging on to heavy weights.
Once you have answered these questions, it’s time to decide. Ask yourself this question: What if I let go of the weight of this burden? What if I could experience the freedom of forgiveness? Am I ready to let it go?
If you cannot say yes, then I would refer you back to the question: What am I getting from holding on? And then ask, what would I get by letting go?
Then, as you decide to make LOVE your decision, symbolically seal the decision in some way: a bowl burning; bury it; flush it; write a letter; create an affirmation; draw a forgiveness logo picture … do something that seals the deal.
Then Forgive and Release! Some say forgive and forget, which is totally unrealistic! We say forgive and release – let the hurt go. Now here’s my own experience. When it is something painful and deep – when you feel you have really been betrayed or violated – it doesn’t happen immediately. (Sometimes it can – but usually it takes a real commitment to the process.) This means that every time a thought about the person or incident arises in your mind, you:
- acknowledge it [Oh, hi! Are you back again? I thought I let you go!]
- affirm for each person involved that you have forgiven and released them
- affirm their highest and best, sending them a blessing
- recommit to your desire to forgive and release, and allow the energy of pure love to flow through your entire being, saturating you with the lightness of forgiveness. You refuse to pick that burden up and carry it again!
From a metaphysical perspective, forgiveness means to give up the false for the true. Forgiveness does not mean you condone what someone does; it does not mean you do not hold people accountable for their actions. Forgiveness means you no longer allow their actions to hold you hostage emotionally. It means you are able to see the Christ in and as them, and you are willing to free them to move on.
If you find yourself starting to tell the story, stop! Just reframe it, and say something like “I’m not giving energy to this anymore!”
And now—Adventure #2: Mirror Image: look at yourself in a mirror, and make Love your decision for yourself. Say (yes, out loud!) “I love you! I forgive you for anything you have said, thought, or done that is not the Truth of who you are. In this moment, I now see the Christ in and as you, and I love you, I accept you, just the way you are. You are worthy. You are divine. [Now make the switch to I AM] I am worthy! I am Divine! I am Love … I live from Love … I bring Love to every situation … I show up as harmony and peace. I am Love. Love is my Decision…
And in love, I walk the spiritual path on practical feet.