“Your Father in heaven … causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Our Scripture reading for today highlights a seemingly impossible command: “Be perfect … as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus sets before us the ideal of perfect love, God’s high standard that we must always strive for. He demands that we go as far as to actively love even our enemies.
To bring his point across, Jesus uses the examples of sunshine and rain. For people in agricultural settings, sun and rain are vivid proofs of God’s bountiful love. They are manifestations of God, who gives good gifts and shows his love to people—even to those who are evil.
When, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God makes us his children, we start walking in love because we’re in his family. John Calvin, an influential French theologian and pastor, taught, “Christ testifies that this will be the mark of our adoption [into God’s family] if we are kind to the bad and unworthy.”
Jesus wants us to look with God’s eyes on everyone whom we meet on our journey through life, to overcome evil with good, and to wear down hatred by showing love.
As we walk in Christ, we are surrounded by all kinds of people. We must always remember that we are called by him to love not only our friends but also our enemies.
Lord, in the bright light of your perfection we discover our own imperfections. Fill us with your Spirit so that we may know how to love others, even our enemies! Amen.
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