But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36)
Getting Along With Others
Human relationships are important and one of the key characteristics of how God’s children interact with others. The world does not view dealing with people as a priority. It is easier to look out for self and promoting the needs of the individual rather than the community. In a hard world of reality many look at protecting their rights not allowing others to abuse them or take advantage of them. A Christian is very different. He or she has an attitude of kindness, goodness and charity to all men – including those who revile or abuse the people of God. Jesus explained that love could not be measured by loving only those who loved in return. That is easy. The real challenge comes when those who do not deserve love or that make it difficult to be kind towards are the ones to whom the Christian shows mercy and goodness. Loving enemies is a hard pill to swallow and often some of God’s people refuse. When someone takes advantage of another the heart can harden against being kind. If harm is done then vengeance is returned. This is a sinful attitude. The point is simple: Jesus said to love the one who is an enemy. It was not a suggestion or an exception that is allowed in the law of God but a command to learn how to do good to those who stand against the character of the Christian. Enemies are people who are not looking out for the betterment of others. What they find in dealing with Christians is not what they find in the world. The carnal nature of man is bent on revenge. Children of God who possess a spirit of gentleness will not revile in return. When people do bad things the Christian will do good things. This is the character of those born again in the Spirit of God.
Jesus exhorts His disciples to have a spirit of serving the Father with a spirit of serving others. He says to lend with no desire for anything in return. This is not compatible with the thinking of the world. Often the attitude is that if something is done for someone there is an expectation that something must be returned in kind. A need may arise and monies are exchanged. Coupled with this exchange is the anticipation of a returned investment. Remarkably Jesus suggests the Christ not to hope for anything in return. The attitude is that what is given to the individual is a blessing from God and sharing it with others is a kind way to reciprocate what is received from the Lord. Everything Jesus says in this sermon is based upon what God has done for man. Giving His Son as a sacrifice was not based on the worth of man but his worthlessness. Man was not good enough to accept the blood sacrifice of God’s Son. Jesus died without sin. All men die because of sin. The sacrifice made by the Son of God was not given with the expectation that man could do anything to be worthy of God’s grace. Yet the love of God was shed abroad in the hearts of man to say that God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son to die for undeserving people who killed Jesus Christ on a cross. If God has done that for men He requires for man to do the same for others. Showing mercy to others is because eternal mercy was granted to those saved by His blood.
Getting along with others is how man shows the Lord how much he understands what God has done for him. Loving enemies comes from the knowledge that God loved me. Doing good to all men – those who are loved and those who are enemies – expresses the character of mercy God has given to me. Lending without hope of return puts everything in the hands of a bountiful Creator who has blessed His people with untold blessings. Being kind to the unthankful is a mirror of what He did in sending His Son to die for my unkindness. Showing grace to those who are evil is the full expression of God’s grace for Christ to die for my evil heart. Letting a merciful heart fill my life is declaring the mercy the heavenly Father has given me. How can I not get along with others when God has done so much for me? If I cannot learn to love my enemy I cannot learn to love my God. As His child I must be like Him. Learning to get along with others is the stamp of God’s image on my heart to be like the one who was merciful and full of grace that saved me from sin. Thank you God for your love. May my life reflect that love to others.