It’s tempting to read these passages for the umpteenth time and overlook something God might want to say to us about it. That almost happened to me this morning. I was reading what God said about loving our enemies. You know it, right? Love them, do good to them, turn the other cheek. Yada Yada Yada.
My mind kept going to the climate in our nation here in 2020. Sadly, the term “enemy” has come to mean a person who simply disagrees with you; someone who is from a different political party than you; someone who supports a different side of the abortion issue. There are those who would like us to believe we should look at people with different skin color than our’s, or in a different tax bracket than us as the enemy.
And how do we treat our enemies these days? We burn down their businesses. Pull out a gun and shoot them. Beat them up. Slander them. Hate them.
The idea of turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, giving the shirts off our backs, loving our enemies and doing good to them is scoffed at. It’s weak! It’s ridiculous!
Did you know that Jesus gave us the Golden Rule as part of His message on how to treat our enemies? Yeah. Our enemies.
Now here is what I almost missed this morning. I believe God wanted me to see a short phrase in verse 36:.
…because he (God) is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
Really? You might think that’s not at all right. God should destroy mean people, ungrateful wretches! Instead, Jesus tells us God is kind to them. Ridiculous?
Oh, it get’s better. After Jesus tells us this, he turns to us and says…
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Now wait a minute, God. If you want to be kind and merciful that’s up to you. But how can you expect me to be kind and merciful to these thugs, these degenerates, these people who call me names and threaten my safety?
“Because I said so,” He seems to answer me.
I challenge you to read this portion of God’s Word, and check your kindness meter. Is it reserved only for people with whom you agree? Do you have the attitude, “I’ll be kind to them IF they are kind to me? I’ll show mercy IF they show it to me first?”
Do you see an “IF” in God’s command to us to be merciful? I sure don’t.
Jesus tells us if we obey Him in this, “Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.” He’s not saying we earn our position as His child by being nice to people. But He is saying that if we obey Him, people will notice and will identify us with Jesus, will recognize that we belong to God.
That’s not ridiculous!