“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Luke 5:44-45
In a recent television show, two mothers were comparing their parenting styles with their sons. The first, a cold, calculating psychiatrist said she raised her son in a ‘rewards-based manner,’ giving him praise only if he earned it. The second said she ‘just loved her son unconditionally.’ The first son turned out to doubt his gifts, and he wondered if his accomplishments as a scientist amounted to anything; the latter son thought himself a wonderful person.
The episode reminded me of Jesus’s call to not only love, but to love unconditionally, to shine care and kindness on people we like and dislike, those who love us back and those who treat us unfairly or cruelly. The same passage in Luke goes on to say “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” By contrast, God lets everyone enjoy the warmth of his sun, that life-giving, life-enabling source of energy and joy. It may not seem fair, but that’s how God works.
Do you find yourself withholding love or rewards from people because you don’t like them? Ever wonder what it might mean to shine your kindness on people who are your enemies?
Dear God, I can learn so much from Jesus’ teaching that you warm the backs of evil people and good folks alike. Help me love everyone too, even my enemies. Amen.
Make a list of your top three enemies. Do one thing today toward one of them that shows kindness.
Read Dan B. Allender & Tremper Longman's Bold Love The publisher’s site reads: “Bold Love introduces the outlandish possibility of making a significant, life-changing impact on family, friends, coworkers—even your enemies. Learn more about forgiveness, maturity, and seeing others through Jesus’ eyes.”