"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
-Luke 6:32-36 NIV
Have you ever given yourself a spiritual pat on the back when you did something nice for someone? Or if you showed love to someone? Or if you unselfishing lended someone something that meant a lot to you? How often was it to someone whom you considered an enemy?
What credit is it to you? These words have been spinning around in my head as of late. I have found myself to be somewhat of a spirtual pride-filled person. I give myself spiritual pats on the back all the time. Wow, C., you really did something nice for your friend, there. Great job, C., you really showed the love of Christ to your loved one. C., I can't believe how generous you were in lending that to someone and letting them not repay you right away.
These verses make me take my hand and stop it as it starts to pat my back and move it towards spanking my backside. Even sinners can be nice to people who are nice to them. Atheists, pagans, God haters can all show love to those who love them. But, it is when we are faced with people who are unkind, mean and sometimes downright cruel to us that this Christianity thing has to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.
God has been showing me lately that to truly follow Christ means a very difficult path:
"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
-Matthew 7:14 NIV
The Bible says that very few are going to actually get this Christianity thing down. Why might you ask? Because it is hard. It is doing the thing that will never come naturally. It is giving until we have nothing. It is forgiving every time. It is showing love to those who have shown the complete opposite to us. It is going against our very nature.
Are you nice to your friends? Lend stuff with expectation of the favor being returned? Forgive those who apologize? Love those who love you back? What credit is it to you? Anyone can do that.
The real question is do you love those who have hurt you over and over again? Do you give without expectation of a returned favor? Are you kind when someone shows you meanness? If you want to start patting yourself on your spiritual back, start doing the hard things. Stop talking like a Christian and start acting like one. God knows how hard it is...
Here's to earning some extra credit...
Until next time,