15–21 January 2017.
What does it mean to be like God? That’s a difficult question that many people have argued about all through history. For some, to be like God means having enormous power; it means bossing people around and telling them what to do. For some, to be like God is to look down on others and make them feel worthless. And for some, to be like God is to be like the secret police: to spy on others every minute, and to judge every little thing they do. But if we followed these ideas, we wouldn’t be like God at all; we would be like monsters!
In Luke 6, Jesus tells us the truth. To be like God means loving your enemies, and doing good to them. Because that’s what God does. He is kind even to those who are unthankful and wicked – people like us. So Jesus tells us directly: to be like God means being compassionate, because that’s what our Father in heaven is like.
Because our world is filled with violence and hate, this can be hard to remember – and even harder for us to do! It’s not easy to love our enemies or to pray for them. But even worse is that some people find it so impossible to love their enemies that they think this must be impossible for God too. They think that God is just the same as us, only liking people who like him, and hating everyone else, and just waiting to destroy and kill them all. But God isn’t like that at all!
Again, Jesus tells us: If you only love those who love you, then what’s the big deal? Even sinners do that. So if God only loved those who loved him, then so what? That’s not very special. Even we sinners can do that.
The good news is that God is not like people at all. God loves those who hate him, he blesses those who reject him, and he even died for unworthy sinners just like you and me. Isn’t that amazing! The only troublesome part is that now God wants us to do the same: to love and bless our enemies too. That’s hard, and it’s something that takes courage and practice. But with God’s help, I hope that today we really can make a start, and work at becoming more like our loving God.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis