“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Two weeks ago, I spoke of God’s command for us to imitate Jesus. Here Jesus exhorts us to act a certain way that we may be recognized as “sons of your Father in heaven”. And what does God want us to imitate in His character? Mercy.
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God forgives us for everything, shouldn’t we do the same when we are sinned against? God does more than just forgive, he sends rain on the unjust without them asking or understanding where it came from. Rain equals food and blessing. So, God continue to pour out blessings despite their wickedness.
The conclusion is that we are to be perfect just like our Father in heaven is perfect. I don’t believe that we are or will be perfect as God but rather that we are to wholeheartedly imitate Him. And that perfect imitation is deeply connected to showing mercy and forgiveness to those who sin against us. This is why Luke recorded this perfection as mercy. Luke 6:36. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Following the Lord’s prayer, we are given this awful promise: Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Therefore, we need to carefully consider our hearts. Are we harboring unforgiveness toward anyone. Are we desiring revenge for the wrongs done to us?
Matt Meyer – January 14, 2024