NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passage: Luke 6:27-38
- What makes showing love and compassion to all people so difficult? Can you disagree with a person and still love them?
- How is the way we treat others an extension of God’s mercy shown to us?
Food for thought:
Assigning a label to a person gives us permission to ignore them. We may decide they are too old or too young to garner our attention. We may label them based on where they grew up, the type of car they own, or if they like cats … or not. If we can label a person in a specific way, we can find a way to justify our mistreatment of them. That label makes them somehow less human and therefore unworthy of our time, attention or compassion. Jesus reminded His followers that He expects something different from us.
After spending the night on a mountain in prayer, Jesus and His disciples encountered a large group of people who were intrigued by Him. Jesus addressed the disciples as the crowd looked on, calling on them to demonstrate compassion and care to all people, especially one’s enemies. His sermon included three rhetorical questions about loving others in return for their love, doing good to those who do good back to you, and lending to those you know will return the item. Jesus noted that even sinners will do those things. He called on those who followed Him to express love to others regardless of their response. Jesus directed His followers to show mercy to others in the same way they had been shown mercy by God.
The sanctity of human life means that because God creates humans in His image, each of us is responsible for treating every person with honor, respect, dignity and mercy. Jesus did not direct us to walk away from evil and let it reign, but instead directed His followers to fight evil with mercy and grace. We were shown mercy when Jesus came to earth to die for our sin. One way we show thankfulness for the mercy shown to us is by showing mercy to others, even those who oppose us. The way we treat others opens the door for God to work in that person’s heart, making us an extension of God’s mercy.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.