There is a saying frequently used in the world today.
“You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours!”
It has nothing to do with having an itchy back, but is saying that if you help me out than I’ll help you. It is all about payback. Give me something so that I can give you something in return.
But the reverse also applies as well. If you DON’T scratch my back, then don’t expect anything in return. If you want something from me then you have to give me something first. First I get then I’ll give.
This is not the way that God works.
The Love of God
In this section of scripture Jesus shows us the love of God. He says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” (Verse 32)
Any time you give something that is conditional, it is no credit to you at all. It doesn’t matter what it is, if there are strings attached or conditions on the giving then it is not coming from a pure and sincere heart.
But God gives to all of mankind all good things, not because man deserves it, but because God is good, kind and merciful. Does God expect anything in return from man? No. God HOPES that man will appreciate the gifts of God and seek him out and give thanks for the things he receives, but God does not expect it.
It is because God is good and the love of God is pure that he does these things for us. And there are many people who expressly and boldly state through words or actions that they do not believe God and even hate him. Yet still God does not turn them away and take away his gifts. Still he shows them mercy in the hope that they will turn around and recognise the great gifts and the opportunities that God has given them.
Learn to Be Like God
We are called as Christians to learn to be like God.
In Jesus we see the fullness of God and we can learn from his examples. The Love of God shows us that we should love our enemies and pray for those who oppose and persecute us.
Why should we do good to our enemies when every human instinct is to attack? We do it because we are being trained to behave, think and act like God. We do it in the hope that they will see our good behaviour and repent of their evil. We do it because it is the right thing to do and it is what God would do.
God has shown us great mercy in forgiving our sins and giving us the opportunity for life. We need to do the same to our fellow man. When we have been wronged, we need to forgive and show the same mercy that God has shown to us, for as Christians we too once were the enemies of God.
How to Behave like God
At the start of this post I said that the way of the world is, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours!” The way of the world is that FIRST you give me something and then I’ll give you something. First you scratch my back and then I’ll scratch yours.
But God’s love and wisdom is the opposite to this worldly way.
God’s love says, “I will give gifts to you without cost, I will show you mercy without price for your good and benefit, expecting nothing in return.”
The wisdom of God is to be a giver first rather than a taker. And when you give, give unconditionally expecting nothing in return.
That is why Jesus said in this section of scripture to give to those who could not repay in kind, and to lend without expecting anything back. For when you do this you are showing the love of God because, like God, there is nothing in it for you but the hope that the recipient might give thanks to God for being blessed.
Do you want the blessings and favour of God rather than of man? Then be a giver and give not to receive the same again from man, but to receive the blessings and favour of God.
And you will receive the blessing of God when you do this. Show mercy and you will receive mercy. Do good and you will receive good. Bless others and you will be blessed. That is the way of the Lord and what we have been called to do.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng http://www.sxc.hu provided by “Kimberlee Kessler Design”)