“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. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
I don’t know about you, but this whole idea is easier after I read this paragraph; it just makes more sense to me. He’s right when He makes the point that anyone can love people who love them; I get that one. I get it the next point too; sure, it isn’t that hard to do nice things for people who return the favor, in fact, I want to do that. The same is true with the example of lending to those who I know will pay me back.
Years ago I decided, after a difficult experience, that from then on I would only lend to someone when I was able to make the loan a gift; I’d be pleasantly surprised if the other person ever paid me back and if they didn’t, it was a gift. That saved a lot of conflict and bad feelings over the years, so yes, I get that one too.
His main point is that God is merciful to those who don’t really deserve His mercy, and that God is kind to those who really don’t deserve His kindness, and I get that one too, because He is merciful and kind to me, and I really don’t deserve either from Him.
I’m not sure how you feel about all of this, but at this point, the ‘love your enemies’ thing is a lot easier for me than it started out being. Yes, there are plenty of times when I need to check my attitude at the door, but when I consider all that God has forgiven me for, I’m willing to do it as best I can, with the hope that as time goes on, I will have fewer occasions when I need to consciously think about it, for it will have become second nature.
I’d love to hear what you think!