The next series of questions in Luke 6 focuses on our response to other people. “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.’ (Luke 6:32-34) It’s very easy to view relationships in the same way we view credit, helping only those who can help us, but God’s ways point towards mercy, grace and forgiveness, none of which can be earned or deserved. Jesus’s questions take us from the world’s way of doing things to God’s way. They remind us of core gospel values and show us that there are more important things in this world than money, than in the financial ledger so many of us rely on, and that we are called to be imitators of God, to become like God in how we live and respond to other people. (Eph 5:1)
Our attitudes to others are also challenged in Jesus’s questions later in the chapter, when He asks, ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?’ (Luke 6:41-42) It’s so much easier to see the faults in other people than it is to see our own faults. It’s so much easier to judge other people harshly and be lenient with our own faults. We understand our troubled hearts and mixed motives, whereas we can’t see what lies behind other people’s actions or words. Jesus’s imagery is comical, but the questions are pointed, all the same, challenging us to look for our own faults before we even see other people’s.