"Have Mercy"
Luke 6:27-36: But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.  But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
This passage, which instructs us to love our enemies, is easy to understand, but hard to practice. We tend to have a grumbling, complaining, down cast attitude. We are to minister to our enemies--defined as those outside the Kingdom.

Luke 18:1-14 contains the parables of the Persistant Widow and the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The target audience, Mr. Begg states, was the presumptuous, pompus, 'religious' types--they lived hypocrically. They did not have a true awareness of God, because that brings an awareness of sin.

"Christian behavior is absolutely crucial to the furtherence of the Gospel." This addresses not just personal behavior, but civic life. We are to be submissive, faithful, and loyal to those over us for their authority is from God (this does not mean we blindly obey). We are to be engaged in our communities so long as no question of conscience is envolved. The Christian should be marked by grace, respect, manners, etc. In a word, courtesy. Not least of course, humility of heart. All these should be grounded in the mercy of God.

All men are our neighbors.

Throughout his talk, Mr. Begg kept coming back to Christopher Hitchens and how so many Christians were callous and insulting as he died, rather than compassionate and courteous. Rather than lovingly trying to point him to Christ, they instead were exulting publically and hatefully "serves him right!" The point is not to 'cover the sin' as in not seeing it, but to build relationships with unbelievers and minister to them in an evidence of our Christianity. Never once did Mr. Begg infer that we should not call sin, sin, to an unbliever; but we should address it in love and humility.
 


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