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 6:3236
WHAT IS the difference between a do-gooder and a child of God? According to this pas-sage, even despicable people know how to love, do good, and lend to others who are good to them. But the Lord has a higher standard for Christ-followers. We are to do good to people who oppose us.
When I worked in retail, I discovered that customers had a variety of complaints. But a listening ear and a kind response often helped diffuse a customers anger. One of the difficult things about obedience is that it often requires a depth of commitment we are reluctant to make. It goes against human nature to reach out to those who dont like us. Often my reaction to opposition is to lash out at the other per-son. But God calls us to be patient, kind, and merciful.
Lord, help me be an agent of your mercy to those around me. Challenge me to go be-yond charity and neighborliness to sacrificial love.
Sally Ferguson is a writer living in Jamestown, New York