“Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great …”
In the small town where I live, a little store makes donuts. They offer free ones, knowing that you will likely buy more. They also know that if you eat the free one, you will feel like you ought to buy more. It’s a known sales technique to create a feeling of obligation.
But Jesus does not work that way. True, the Bible speaks of owing our lives to the Lord, who died for us (see Romans 12:1-2, for example). But Jesus gave himself without expecting or demanding anything. He let people walk away. He will not manipulate for love. In this, he asks us to imitate him.
I’ve met Christians who are bitter and angry because they feel as if they have given, and given, and given (their faith, morals, money, and prayers) and yet their adult children, or their church, or their non-Christian neighbors, or their ungodly government leaders do not respond according to their wishes.
What if we gave as Jesus gave, expecting nothing in return? Then we would be free from sinful drives, cheap manipulations, and the frustrations of feeling that people haven’t responded as we had hoped.
The gospel is a giveaway, even to enemies. If we take this approach, we will be happier, and so will the people around us.
Lord, help me to follow your instructions. It is difficult, and I am selfish. Father, bless the world; save souls; lead my loved ones in your ways. Help me to give as you have given. In Jesus, Amen.
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