Matthew 5:45 (NIV) If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
Luke 6:32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
I have always thought about these verses to mean people who do not love me ALL the time. People who hate me because I am American. Or those who have been taught to despise a skin color or gender. People who I have really offended and those bridges have been burned. Those people who don’t like me just because they don’t.
I had a revelation recently… and I love when that happens. I have taken these verses to mean something more personal… A little pinhole of light broke through from my brain to my soul and made these verses a bit more real to me.
What am I to do when the people who DO love me act unloving toward me? What about when my5 year old throws a fit and says she wants her daddy instead of me? Or when she looks me square in the eye and dares to say “NO.” What about when my teenager says mean words or my husband is impatient and unkind? Maybe when one of my friends says something that is hurtful?
We tend to think of a love that is based on feelings, on the moment or the circumstance, on the mood.
The love of Jesus is a decision that is totally and completely unrelated to any sentiment.
It is a love without price to the receiver.
A love without strings.
Given freely with no expectation of return.
It is the only way we can love those who don’t love us.
His love through us is the only way we can continue to love those who act unloving toward us.