The Secret to a Great Reward
When you take a look at the people around you, you will notice things. Some people seem to be happy all the time. They have either found the secret to happiness, or they are putting on a good show. Other people seem to have it all together, but do we really know what’s going on underneath the surface?
We don’t know what other people are dealing with. So when it comes down to it we have only one choice: to love everyone equally. It’s not a strange concept, but as humans we have to look out for ourselves. Fortunately, looking out for others means we are looking out for ourselves as well.
35 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 children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Love Your Enemies
Many people will get hung up on this part. They claim they don’t have enemies, or why would you have enemies? But they’re failing to see the point of the text.
Loving your enemies doesn’t mean that you’re making a bunch of people mad. Enemies, in this instance, refer to even those who don’t like you. It’s easy to love our friends, they love us back. But to love the bully down the street; to love the guy that cut you off in traffic; to love the thief that smashed your car window and stole your purse/wallet/cell phone. That’s a whole lot harder.
When you let go of the hate, and embrace loving others, life is a whole lot better.
Do Good to Them
But loving those that don’t love you back is more than just not talking bad about them. I know a lot of people that feel loving their enemies means ignoring them and pretending they don’t exist. It goes further than that.
Do good to those who don’t like you. Go out of your way to make sure that they feel welcome, encouraged, and loved. Compliment them on a job well done, spend your time making their life easier. Now this isn’t really possible if you’re the victim of a crime that nobody saw (it’s hard to love on the kid that chucked a rock through your window when you don’t know who he is), but you can love on others in the same predicament. Volunteer at a youth shelter; take food to those home-bound; rake leaves from your neighbor’s yard.
Lend without Expecting Anything Back
There are two parts to this one. First, if your friend needs $10 for lunch, you probably wouldn’t think anything of buying him lunch. You “lend” the money without expecting anything back. Second, if someone you only kind-of know asks you for $10 and says, “I’ll get you back on Friday.” You might lend them the $10 thinking you’ll get repaid so why not. It’s easy to give $10 to your friend, and if the acquaintance never pays you back, well it’s only $10 (although you’re still kind of perturbed by it).
Why expect that $10 back? Because they’re not as close to you as the other person, so you expect to be repaid when the other one you didn’t think anything of it? Likewise, if you rake your neighbor’s yard, you feel like they “owe you one.” Instead, do good to one another, because it’s the right thing to do, and not because now you’re got one up on them.
It’s a Learning Process
As humans, we are inherently selfish. We want what is best for us, and everyone else can fend for themselves. Naturally we know that is the “wrong” way to think, so many go out of their way to help others. But if we all go the extra mile to love everyone, do good to everyone, and give without expecting anything in return, the world will be a whole lot better of a place. To top it off, God will give us a great reward.