My thoughts (Ben Lamb):
“Oh man! I have to be nice to people I really don’t like, ’cause Jesus says I must. It’s there in the Scriptures, plain as day. Where’s a big ol’ eraser when I want one?”
Sadly, the above approach is what I’ve used when thinking about this passage in previous times. Yet, God hasn’t given up on helping me to try and have a change of attitude toward people, including the needlessly- inflated opinion I often have of myself.
As I try to look at these words through the eyes of Jesus, they take on a much different sense. Here’s a memory refresher: Jesus was without sin and humans are with sin; let’s now look again at some instances regarding his words.
- Verse 33: “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. ” Jesus (sinless) did good for everyone (sinners) with whom he had an encounter.
- Verse 35: “But love your enemies, do good. . . expecting nothing in return. . .” Jesus (sinless) showed love for everyone (sinners) with whom he had an encounter.
If I’m a follower of Jesus — and, hence, trying to be more like him every day — how can I not try to act as Jesus did?
The last half of verse 35 made me stop in my tracks and give thanks: “. . .he [the Most High] is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” Instead of having that previous mindset of “It’s everyone else who is ungrateful and wicked,” I now admit that I fall somewhere on the Ungrateful-and-Wicked continuum along with everyone else. Yet, God is willing to be kind to me, too.
Happy Thanksgiving to me!
Thought for today: Every day is a day to give thanks to God for somethin’-or-other.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.