Loving beyond limits – Hope 103.2

Loving beyond limits

By David ReayFriday 6 May 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Matthew 5:43-48

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (NRSV)

Our God is a spendthrift lover, dispensing love freely to those who believe in him and those who don’t want to have anything to do with him. His love has no ration cards attached. Whereas the religious leaders of Jesus’ day tried to limit their love. You were to love certain people and not bother too much about others. Even if we recognise that the word ‘hate’ means to ‘love less’, it is still a discriminatory sort of love.

God pours out his love on all people, not just those he likes or those who like him. And Jesus urges us to do likewise with our love. We are not to be miserly or selective in our love. He makes the point that if we only love those who love us we are merely doing what any human being might do. As disciples of Jesus, we have a higher standard. Note that when he says we are to be perfect, he means something like our word ‘complete’ or ‘mature’. He well knows we can’t attain literal perfection.

This quote from a scholar called Alfred Plummer sums it up: “To return evil for good is devilish; to return good for good is human; to return good for evil is divine.”

David Reay