For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. (33) And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And 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.
3. Who should I love? (continued)
Jesus here pre-emptively answers our unverbalized question. Those who are listening and think that it is too high a moral bar to demand that we love our enemies might ask, “Seriously? Love our enemies? Love those who hurt us, and use us, and speak evil against us? Is that what it really takes to be “blessed” and not receiving “woe”? Is that what it takes to be a true disciple?
What is Jesus’ answer? Even those who are the most evil love those who love them. Even those who are the most evil do good to those who do good to them. He asks this fundamental question- “What thank have ye?”. He is asking us this kind of question: “Do you think you’ll be “blessed” by God by only loving those who you know will love you back? Do you think that you will be considered Jesus’ disciple by “loving” in the same way that even the most evil “love”?”
Our motives for this wrong kind of “love” is even more poignantly expressed in the last question.
And 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.
Even those who are evil give and lend in hopes of getting something in return. Often the way we “love” is really more for us than it is the other person.
The truth is that the love that God wants us to demonstrate is a love that is truly focused on others. That kind of love knows no boundaries as to the type of person we will love. We love this way because God has made us different and called us to love differently than the world does.
- Test your love by doing a little honest introspection. Why do you “love” those around you? Are you loving them only because they love you back?
- Is your capacity to love those who do not deserve it limited to those who love you can get something from because you don’t love others unconditionally?