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 sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:32-36
Even sinners do that. Those words cut down deep.
How much of my behavior fits into this category? I sometimes wonder how much of the things that I do—things which leave me self-impressed—are nothing more than what a nice sinner would do in my place. Doing good to those who do good to me. Loving those who love me. Giving to those who I know will repay me.
Where is the risk in this kind of living? Where is the reckless God-love?
Loving those who have never shown love to me; doing good to those who only give me grief or annoyance—this is loving like Jesus loves. Lending our money and not expecting repayment…this may be the hardest of all for some of us. Maybe we don’t expect the actual money back, but we deserve something in return…right?
Do I give expecting thanks?
Do I lend anticipating reciprocation when I’m in need?
In truth, I probably just want my money back.
Do I give assuming they will honor me with their lips? Put in a good word with friends? Tell me how they couldn’t do it without my help?
Even sinners do that.
Where is my heart when I lend and they don’t thank me?
Where is my heart when I love and they show no interest?
Where is my heart when I do good and they criticize the quality of my efforts?
The Most High is kind to the wicked and the ungrateful. He is kind to us. Being his children means being kind to those same people—those people just like us.
We were loved with reckless abandon—the Father giving up all for us. We are called to be his children, to be those who love as he loves. He loved us while we were still sinners; loved us when we showed no interest. He did good to us when we had never done good for him. He gave—gave his only Son—and has never asked for repayment. This is how we were loved and how we are called to love in return.