If you love those who love you, what benefit 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 benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Love those who love you back. You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours. The expectation of a favor returned. That’s the world we live in. And to be honest, it makes sense. We expect a return on our investment. I’ll pay for this one; you catch the next one. We get irritated at the person who never pulls their weight. But that thing called “mercy” takes what makes worldly sense and turns it upside down.
You love those who love you? No big deal, Jesus says. Even sinners—the ungrateful and wicked—do that. Most people are willing to give when they know the rebound is coming their way. But how about giving to those who have no intention of repaying you? Jesus said that’s the kind of character that produces great rewards.
This is a tough one, isn’t it? But the basis for this godly action is in the character of God. He showed mercy to us by sending his Son to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus paid a debt we could never repay. He gave everything knowing we had nothing to give in return. So, when we show a no-strings-attached-mercy, in a small but powerful way, we reflect the character of God.
Talking to God
Father, I don’t want to love my enemies. It is totally against my nature. I stand with my natural desires in opposition to your desires for me. That’s not a strong foundation to stand on. So, I ask you to align my heart with yours. In Christ’s name, Amen.
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