Good for the Soul
In Luke 6:32-36 (NKJV) Jesus says, “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
In this passage, our Lord tells us that if we do good only to those who have done good to us, we really haven’t accomplished anything. But, to do good to someone who has no intention of loving, liking or even treating us humanely—now that would be a divine attribute. Jesus says that even men who have no regard for God or the principles of the heavenly kingdom occasionally do the right thing under the pretense of a return on their investment, but when the Christian does righteousness with no conceivable benefit in sight, he or she demonstrates the traits of heaven. To bless someone who actually may detest or abhor you, that would require a spirit and attitude of spiritual fortitude and resolve. Christ urges us to love our enemies as He did, desiring the good of those who have no desire to do good to us. That’s not easy, not simple and hardly ever convenient; it is discipleship at its highest sense and application.
What would a world look like where everyone did good to others even when others had done evil to them? It would look like heaven! These heavenly attributes are called grace and favor. Receiving something undeserved. Jesus instructed His disciples about the importance of building a character and attitude fit for the kingdom of heaven. It begins by thinking of others before thinking of ourselves and by giving without measure even when there is nothing to be gained. That is the ultimate “pay it forward” principle. May we live our lives by that principle, ever seeking to honor our Master by paying it forward in love and mercy.
By Carlos J. Craig, President