“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 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. 35 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. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6.32-36
This segment follows the previous passage in which Jesus talks about loving your enemies, doing good to those who harm you. Here we find a continuation of this same type of attitude. It’s five verses in which Jesus encourages us to be like God the Father and children of the Most High. How do we do this? Let’s take a look.
In order to be like God, and represent him as his children we must — 1) Love sinners. Loving those who love us, is easy and Jesus says, “what credit it that to you.” 2) Do good deeds to your enemies. 3) Lend to those who won’t pay you back. This is not good business sense but it is good Kingdom sense. This is the type of follower Jesus requires.
From the world’s perspective, these are insane acts. Why would we love those who hate us? Why would we give away our hard earned income for those who don’t deserve it? Why would we do good deeds to enemies and sinners alike? Why? Because each of us were once “ungrateful and wicked.” We are all sinners, saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are all defiled with original sin and a bent toward evil. Just as we are kind to those who we don’t like and who are evil, so God is kind to us.
If you happen to turn on the news and watch for any length of time, you will not only see a broken society, but a societal civil war happening right before our eyes. The best example of this is the Trump v. Biden election. This fight over politics has divided our nation, our way of life and our liberty. Yet Jesus says in John 18.36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” So the things we think are important, might be less than what really matters. I’m not saying there aren’t issues for which we must fight, but we must do so in the spirit of love, kindness and holiness.
Jesus calls us to have mercy on those who need mercy because we once were in need of this very same mercy. The challenge today isn’t to relinquish your values for something you do not believe in, but to love those who feel differently. It doesn’t mean we must accept those differences, but we are called to love all and to see the hand of God in this world. Even while we realize this world is not the end all — the Kingdom of Heaven is among us even as it is yet to come.
“O Lord God, I am but a sinner saved by grace. I am worried about many things, some are too small, some are limiting my ability to live life and to love you well. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Help me be the person you called me to be, to be kingdom minded. Just as I have received your mercy, so help me extend mercy to others. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen