Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Luke 6:30-35

Luke’s account of Jesus’ sermon above uses the very familiar phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as seen in the sermon on the mount in Matthew’s gospel. Unlike in that account where we are given the example of a person doing good to his own child, Jesus uses the Golden Rule to encourage people to give to outsiders without expectation of return. In other words, Jesus is in favor of debt forgiveness!

“Love your enemies” sounds good to anyone if you make it a squishy, contextless proverb. Hate is a poison that kills the one who holds it, blah blah blah. But when Jesus says love your enemies and give them money it suddenly gets real! “Do unto others” means help people who hate you and with no expectation of gain.

If you want to be godly, you have to be willing to do good for the “ungrateful and wicked.” And yes, it’s hard. We must do for others as we want them to do for us because who we are is far more important than what we have.

Ethan Kirl