“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?”
In today’s verse the word “love” is not the emotional, Hallmark card type…it’s love of the will. This isn’t normal for a human but requires the work of the Holy Spirit. If you know Jesus as Lord, this capacity lies within you as a Fruit of the Spirit. The question at hand is: will you use it?
When you go to work or church or a social event, there are many people you see that are a joy to interact with. They really like you and you really like them! Jesus isn’t impressed, though. Even the despised tax collectors of Jesus’ day loved other tax collectors. So in effect, this kind of love is no big deal.
Again, Jesus is raising the bar on what it means to be His follower.
So, we are back to our enemies from yesterday as well as people that may be, well…hard to like. It could be someone you have known for a long time or just a rude person at the grocery store. Start loving on those folks. Greet them with a smile. Hold the door open for them. Bring them a cup of coffee or clear their place at the table. Ask them how they are doing and then take the time to listen to their answer. Pray for them. Do these things, regardless of how they treat you.
It’s easy to be kind and good
To those who show us love,
But loving those who won’t respond
Takes grace from God above.
– Dave Sper