I was reading John 6 today, and came to that passage where Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Wow. Jesus had a poetic streak! I love reading this passage, just for the pure poetry of it:
 

Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, 
      pressed down, 
              shaken together and 
                         running over 
                               will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use,
it will be measured to you.

Wow again! If we give to others, God gives us back a lot more than we gave. Right?

Uh, that would be bribery, and God doesn’t work that way. Jesus is not calling us to give in order to get.

Let’s look at the context. The verse in front of this passage says, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not comdemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." In the passage before that, Jesus is discussing loving your enemies.

So, in context, I don’t think Jesus is talking about God’s reactions to our actions. As created beings we don’t judge God, condemn God, or forgive God, (or not do those things); we’re logically not in a position to do so. Also, Jesus was a master public speaker and story-teller, and He didn’t logically speak about loving our enemies, then suddenly get all poetic about God giving us stuff. I think Jesus is talking here about our actions towards each other.

Track with me here. Christ’s "golden rule" says to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In this passage, He is teaching the same lesson in reverse. Do NOT do unto others as you would NOT have them do unto you. Do not hate, judge, condemn, or refuse to forgive if you don’t want others to treat you in those ways. A reverse golden rule, if you will.

In terms of human actions and reactions, it is very true, too–of course.

Think about people you have hated, judged, condemned, and not forgiven. Those people probably reacted to you in the same way in return. Those people would probably be classified as "enemies", right? Or, in more modern terms, we would say those were broken relationships.

Think about people you have loved, forgiven, and been generous to. Those people are called friends, right? And they treat you in the same way in return. Well, as much as humanly possible, anyway.

Now think about what would happen if you took the first step in your broken relationships, and begain treating your "enemies" with the love, forgiveness, and generosity that your friends receive from you.

Now we see Jesus’ point. He is calling us to open-hearted living.

No wonder the whole concept of "paying it forward" works. It came straight from Jesus’ mouth.

How are you going to pay it forward today?

Blessings!

(p.s. loving your "enemies" does NOT mean allowing them to continue hurting you. But it does mean having a heart attitude of love toward them. Talking to a pastor about those situations would be a start.)

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