“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:35
This is such a powerful command. It goes directly against what our nature leans toward—that desire to only love those who love us, to do good to those who do good to us, to lend to those from whom we expect to receive. Jesus calls us to more. He calls us to abandon ourselves in such a way that our actions toward others, our love and our generosity toward them, has nothing to do with how they have treated us or what we expect from them.
Instead, our love and generosity have everything to do with our Lord. God Most High, who “is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” His grace pours out to the worst of sinners. His kindness is evident even in the lives of those who refuse to acknowledge Him. We know this because He has chosen to pursue us. He has chosen to save us. To draw us to Himself and awaken our souls to life and joy.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1-5).
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
Before I began reading this morning, I was dwelling on Christmastime, on the root of all the celebration. God came down to us. He came to dwell with us. Jesus came to learn obedience through suffering, to bear the wrath of God for us, making peace by the blood of His cross. He came to free the captives, to bind up the brokenhearted, to bring good news to the poor, to declare the year of the Lord’s favor.
All of this for sinners. For those lost in darkness, pursuing evil and sin, wholly ungrateful to the God who formed them in the womb. For those who could not save themselves and didn’t even know they needed saving, entirely wrapped up in themselves and giving no thought to this God of glory, power, and grace. This is who we were, who we are without Christ, without the work of His Spirit within us.
And now that we know Him, now that we have experienced the salvation and abundant life found within our Lord, we are called to extend His grace to those around us. Whoever they are. Whatever they have done. However they respond. Because what they do is not our concern. We concern ourselves with shining the light of Christ into a dark, lost world, whatever the cost. Grace toward us cost Him everything. How can we give Him any less?