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. Luke 6:32-36 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, this passage grabs my heart at several levels. First and foremost, I’m stunned by this affirmation: “God is kind to the ungrateful and evil.” I’m usually kind to those who are kind to me. Others can get a wide range of responses. And my ingratitude confronts me on a daily basis; for every good thing I have in you, and for all the creature comforts I take for granted.

And my evil thoughts (no exaggeration) show up in the form of envy for what others have and are; pride over who I think I am and what I deserve; resentment towards others who have hurt me; lust for pleasure and comfort outside your will and provision. I can’t throw stones at anyone today, or any day. But I do throw myself upon the mountain of your mercy.

And, Lord Jesus, help me love the ungrateful and hard-to-love people in my world. Grant me quick repentances when I judge others quickly and harshly. Free me to be generous with the mercies you give us on a daily basis.

Help me live more in awe of your love for me than irritated with those who “bug” me. Grant me compassion, rather than reaction, towards broken, self-preoccupied, imperfect people like myself. Help me love well today the way you love us every day. So very Amen I pray, in your kind and exalted name.