Sometimes I am so very tempted to get upset with the “ungrateful”. OK, truth be told, I do get upset. I succumb to the temptation. I feel justified.
- I blessed them and they did not respond.
- I gave and they were not thankful.
- I go out of my way and they do not notice.
- How righteous I feel.
- What is wrong with them?
Oh, my goodness. What is wrong with me? Really. I have been ungrateful to my heavenly Father. What is God’s response?
God’s response is to show me mercy. Our Father’s response is to be kind and to love me. God lavishes His gifts on me. God puts His best clothes on me. God gives me my inheritance early. Jesus prepares a feast for me. Jesus goes to find an amazing ring and put it on my finger.
God does good, is good and is in a good mood. Our Father doesn’t get offended at all. He is God. He is stunningly great.
How amazing? Amazing gifts in spite of my ungrateful heart. He is absolutely perfect.
May I be merciful like my heavenly Father. REALLY.
My reward will be huge. I will be His son.
Here are the key ideas:
- We need to go beyond what is normal and live an extraordinary life of love.
- God’s goal for us is that we love ungrateful and evil people.
- God is in a good mood and loves us even when we aren’t grateful for what he does for us every day.
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 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. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Luke 6:32–36). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
How should we treat our enemies? We must love them, do them good, and pray for them. Hatred only breeds more hatred, “for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:20, NIV). This cannot be done in our own strength, but it can be done through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We must not look at these admonitions as a series of rules to be obeyed. They describe an attitude of heart that expresses itself positively when others are negative, and generously when others are selfish, all to the glory of God. It is an inner disposition, not a legal duty. We must have wisdom to know when to turn the other cheek and when to claim our rights. Even Christian love must exercise discernment.
Two principles stand out: we must treat others as we would want to be treated, which assumes we want the absolute best spiritually for ourselves; and we must imitate our Father in heaven and be merciful.
- The important thing is not that we are vindicated before our enemies but that we become more like God in our character.
- This is the greatest reward anyone can receive, far greater than riches, food, laughter, or popularity.
- Those things will one day vanish, but character will last for eternity.
- We must believe Matthew 6:33 and practice it in the power of the Spirit.
We reap what we sow and in the amount that we sow. If we judge others, we will ourselves be judged. If we forgive, we shall be forgiven, but if we condemn, we shall be condemned. He was not talking about eternal judgment but the way we are treated in this life. If we live to give, God will see to it that we receive; but if we live only to get, God will see to it that we lose. This principle applies not only to our giving of money, but also to the giving of ourselves in ministry to others.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 193). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Luke 6:32–36). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles
Frank Hubeny said:
Good point: It is does not come about by following a rule book, but having a proper attitude of the heart through the Holy Spirit.
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He is far too kind!
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