Luke 6

27 This section describes tasks that are difficult for us to undertake. When we are hurt or attacked we often desire to withdraw or get revenge. However, we must remember that even our enemies carry the image of God. Our desire should be to help that person know who God is. We must also remember that God loved us while we were enemies to Him (Rom 5:8).
28 This verse tells us that we should hope the best for our enemies and pray that God will touch the lives of those who are oppressive.
29 A slap on the face is still considered an insult. One reason to "turn the other cheek" might be to show that you are willing to take unnecessary abuse and not hold it against the person.

The giving of the cloak probably refers to loan agreements with the poor (Deu 24:12-13). Creditors were supposed to be sensitive to the needs of their debtors, but many were not. It would seem that some creditors even went beyond their legal allowance to collateral. The lesson would seem to be that if we are under obligation to someone else, we should submit to their conditions, even if they are unreasonable.

These "extreme" actions should stir the abuser's conscience, or at least his curiosity. Jesus was willing to be insulted and humbled by His enemies (i.e., us), but in so doing He opened the door for us all to come to Him. Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to go to any extreme to save us from the punishment of hell.

I once heard a liberal pastor say there was a Roman law that allowed a soldier to backhand someone, but did not allow him to open-hand slap someone. The pastor's conclusion was that this (and other verses) promotes self-defense, not submission to abuse. I have not confirmed whether this law actually existed, but undoubtedly it would only have been enforced for Roman citizens anyway. There are several biblical examples of Romans mistreating non-Romans (i.e., public beatings without a trial) in ways that would not be allowed for Roman citizens. Besides that, such an interpretation goes against the context of the passage.

30 This verse is probably the hardest for most to follow. A part of this verse would include generosity, giving to beggars, and helping the poor. However, it seems clear that this verse also speaks of robbery. Obviously, the robber violates the eighth and tenth Commandments, but more is at stake here than mere possessions: a human soul. In whatever manner we choose to deal with this situation, our goal should be to bring that person to God, not to regain a lost possession.

Exclusions to this verse would include stewardship situations. Obviously, we can not give something that is not ours to give. Whether the item in question is borrowed from a neighbor, business, or in our care for God, we must deal with the situation as best we can in keeping with the spirit of this verse.

The Christian who is wronged by a brother does have some recourse within the church (Mat 18:15-17). We are obligated to see that sin does not run rampant in the Church. Here again, the objective is not to regain the stolen goods, but to get the thief to repent of his sins.

A mediating factor when dealing with non-Christians is our protection under the laws of the land. Christians are entitled to these protections, as is any citizen. In this and other places, we are encouraged not to use the legal system fully. However, there are biblical examples where the secular legal system was used to provide protection (e.g., Acts 22:25-29, Acts 25:11).

This verse might also speak to the situation where the government takes things they are not entitled to under typical taxation laws. In these cases, there may not have recourses in the church or the secular legal system.

In the end, God will right any wrongs that are not taken care of by the earthly legal system. The Christian must pray for wisdom to handle these situations in ways that are pleasing to God and loving towards men.

31 This is known as "the Golden Rule."

Jesus has already told us that we can expect worldly people to do bad things to us. Christians are to approach life from the opposite standpoint. We should make every effort to respect people and their property rights. We should lift people up when they are down and we should seek to reconcile our differences so that we may live in peace. We want to be treated this way, so we should set the example.

32 It is usually easy to care about those who care about you. We can usually find friends with mutual interests and compatible personalities. Christians, however, are to go beyond "comfortable" relationships. When we extend our friendship to the lonely or the outcast, we open the door to share the Good News of Jesus with them. If we can establish a relationship with an ungodly person, we might show them that a truly fulfilled life is one spent with God.
33 In the same line, we are to do good things for others, even if they do not do good to us. Again, remember that Jesus loved us when we hated Him, and He did good for us before we were born. If a Christian is to reach the world, he can not expect the world to come to him. He must go out and find ways to love and do good to those he is trying to reach.
34 In terms of generosity, Jesus gave everything He had with no guarantees of a return. Sadly, most people continue to enjoy God's blessings, but never even say, "thank you." When we choose to be generous to a worldly person, we can not expect that they will be generous in return. There may also be instances where recipients simply do not have the resources to repay. In both cases, we should gain pleasure in the knowledge that God allowed us to be helpful.
35 Although we may not be repaid on earth, we can be certain that God will reward us for our efforts. God is very pleased when we adopt His characteristic love, goodness, and generosity.
36 Mercy is being good to those who do not deserve it. God is merciful by providing a way for all men to escape the penalty for sin. We are merciful when we respond with love to a world of hate. We can only do this when we have encountered God's mercy ourselves.
37 We are not in a position to make final judgements or condemn people. That authority has been given to Jesus. We can discern certain things about a person's relationship with God by observing his behavior, but we must remember that perfection in God is a process, and no one becomes a perfect person this side of heaven. We must also remember that God is the only one with the authority to judge whether someone has had a true relationship with Him or not. We are told to rebuke the sinner, but the purpose should be to bring them to God. A rebuke is not a final pronouncement, but an opportunity for God to work in someone's life for the better.

People may offend and harm us. However, we must remember that God loves the offender just as much as the offended. Our desire should be God's desire -- that the sinner may repent of his sin and turn to God. One way we can start this process is by forgiving. If one can reconcile a relationship with an enemy, he then has the opportunity to act as an ambassador from God to that person. Reconciling a former enemy with God is far more important than what harm may have come from the former enmity between people.