Luke 6:35 “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 sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”
Why return love for evil? Isn’t that the way the Lord has been dealing with us since the dawn of time? He has been returning love for evil. God had warned our first parents nothing less than death was waiting if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What Adam and Eve deserved was the same fate that Satan and his angels received for their rebellion. That is exactly what each of us deserves for the sin that we commit, too. But the Lord does not treat us as our sins deserve. In fact, he has just the opposite in mind. Jesus reminds us that the one who made us his sons and daughters “is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”
As Christians, we know God’s love. That love promises our “reward will be great.” That reward, Jesus has told us, is worth more than all the wealth and power in this world. It never rusts or wears out or fades. It never goes out of style. It won’t get monotonous or boring. This great reward is something into which God has poured his very self. He will surround us with his presence, and in his presence we will always feel his love and his power.
That reward includes our status as “sons of the Most High.” He considers us his own family. When you look at statistics about families today, it is painful to see how families are torn apart by child abuse, domestic violence, and even darker sins. Even the most stable Christian homes can’t provide all the love and nurture we need. But as Christians, we know God’s love because he has made us “sons of the Most High.” He has made us members of his own family. What we as parents can’t always provide for our children, and what our parents couldn’t always provide for us, our heavenly Father can provide. His care gives us a perfect haven to which we can escape, to which we can run from the pressure and betrayal and hatred our world throws at us. Our heavenly Father’s guidance is always right on the mark. As sons of the Most High we know that our Father will give us just the support, and sometimes just the discipline, we need. As his sons, we are also heirs, heirs of the great reward he has promised.
Why return love for evil? Because we know God’s love and mercy to us. Jesus says, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” He never demanded that we prove our love to him first. We never offered him anything to suggest that we might be worth saving. And yet he sympathized with our plight. He showed compassion and mercy and sacrificed the only Son he had so that wicked and ungrateful people could be his children, too. Our merciful Father doesn’t pay back our sins with vengeance of his own. He paid for those sins with the blood of his one and only Son, the Son whom he loved. He returned love for our evil.
As members of his family, let’s follow in our Father’s footsteps.
Photo By zoocreative, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12997074