What credit or reward will you have? Is your heart motivation –selfishness or selflessness?
Matthew 5:46-47 46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Luke 6:32-34 32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
Treating others, the way they treat you is easy. It’s a no-brainer. You don’t have to think about it much. If they are nice to you, its easy to be nice back. It took no effort on your part to do this.
If you only lend to those who can pay you back, or that have something that you would take as a surety for the loan, you are a no better than someone who exacts extra money from people who don’t have much to begin with to pay their taxes (as a Publican/Tax collector did).
You would not expect a credit or reward or even a thank you for being nice to someone who it nice to you. No one will come up after your encounter and thank you for being nice after being treated in a kind manner. It would be ridiculous to expect thanks.
But if instead you repaid evil with kindness, as the verses before say, Matthew 5:26-30 “ But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.”
This is a hard saying. Jesus was talking to the people before him, and now to us. Most of us do things for some reason or other. If it is to get appreciation or thanks, then you need to examine your motives. Luke 6:35-36, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for His is kind unto the unthankful and the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also in merciful.
Did you catch that? "He is kind to the unthankful and the evil." We must think back to the time we were the unthankful and the evil. God showed His mercy through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, so He could be kind to us who were so unthankful and evil. We must not forget that at one time we were just like the enemy that we have to deal with today. Think of that unthankful person who hits us, curses us, or takes away our possessions.
Look back to the Holocaust. The Jews were lied to, stripped of their earthly possessions, treated worse than stock yard animals. Then you have Corrie Ten Boom and her family (recommended reading “Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom). They gave up their security, their home and wound up with the Jews in the concentration camps because they tried to help people escape. When you hear Corrie’s testimony, you hear her having to forgive those that hurt her, killed her dad, and as she watched her sister die from the conditions in the camp, she is led by the Lord to treat the enemy with love, not contempt.
God calls each of us to something greater than what is natural or easy for each of us to do. It would be natural to keep your head down and just watch as the Enemy (like the Germans did) came into your town and harassed and tortured and gathered your neighbors, and took them to who knows where. Just keep a low profile and don’t get into trouble yourself. It will all pass! But not Corrie’s dad! He got involved right away! These were his neighbors! His friends! But he also treated the soldiers doing these things with kindness and love. He wanted to tell them there is another way too!
It must have been uncomfortable. It pushed him and his family to the edge. But he saw it was worth it. He treated other people how he would want to be treated.
If someone came for you, wouldn’t you want to someone else to stand up for you, to help you, to hide you?
If the soldier that wandered into your shop, was wanting to look at something to buy, how would you treat them? Would you be rude? Just because he is part of that rude army? Just because he is rude to you? Corrie’s dad was kind to them.
Jesus was calling his people to be different than everyone else. Going the extra mile. Not expecting anything in return. Having a heart attitude that emanates love from a source that is unseen. You will look foolish to most for it. It does not make sense to them. You will be called names and maybe kicked but you are going to have a reward that they can not see. They also can not see that God through Jesus has been extremely merciful to you when you were just like them! But you know this in your heart.
These questions are ones that have a way of making you think about your heart intentions before you encounter the next person you meet. Will you approach them with the same mercy with which Jesus approached you? If you can’t remember this at the time of the encounter, then at least try to see the situation from their perspective. What happened to them just before you met? Why are they angry, mean, or hurtful? Does it have anything to do with you? Or was there something that happened before they talked to you? Luke 6:31 “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Maybe just treating others the way you would like to be treated, is enough. What reward or credit are you hoping for after the encounter?
Examining your heart before, during and after a brush with the “enemy,” will be helpful for the next time. Put yourself in that person’s shoes. Suppose they were waiting to see how they were going to be treated before they spoke to you.
I had a friend that taught you are either a “here I am” person, or a “there you are!” person. You either come into a group with one attitude or the other.
The golden rule is real. Jesus asked us to do it. What are you going to do the next time you are with another person?
Leave me a comment and let me know.