“If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.”
Luke 6:33-34 NASB
We must come to that point when we can say that the love of Christ has empowered us to tolerate and even love people who we otherwise could never have tolerated and loved.
Whether it is a parent who was never kind to you, or a colleague at work who never seeks your good; whilst we may dislike the ill manner with which they treat us and maybe even others, we must ensure that we never go so far as to withhold good from them when they need it.
I know this wouldn’t always be an easy thing to do. But the Lord Jesus gives us a powerful perspective. He says:
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them”.
Luke 6:32 ESV
Our response isn’t just about these people and what they do or did, it is about Christ and who He has made us. It should be about the reward we will receive from God and not the kindness we expect from them in return.
And so He says in Luke 6:35 “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”.
It is easier to love your enemies when you remember that God first loved you when you were yet a sinner. He expects and empowers you to do same.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 KJV
It is also beautiful to know that He sees and rewards your actions. We have passed from death to life. We are capable of loving the unlovable. Unconditional love is a fruit of our spirit. We cannot be unforgiving.
Pray for someone who consistently treats you or someone you know poorly. Pray that they will come to know, believe and receive the love that God has for them. Make a verbal decision to love them when/if you see them today.