Luke 6:35-36 - (Jesus said) "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful."
"He has his father's eyes." That's what everybody said when our baby was born and the relatives gathered to play "Who does he look like most?" The ears were a total mystery, but the eyes—ah, those were clearly Dad's. The resemblance was obvious.
Jesus is talking about a family resemblance when He says, "and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful."
What does it mean, to look like God? It means to be kind and merciful, even to those who are ungrateful, even to the wicked. It means, for example, to pray for that driver who cut you off in traffic this morning; it means to lend your neighbor that snowblower, even though you know for a fact he has been badmouthing you around the neighborhood; it means to babysit your in-laws' children while one of them is in the hospital, although they have treated you with nothing but disdain.
Does this mean we should be a doormat? No. Nor does it mean pretending the other person has done no evil. Instead, it means looking at the situation with clear eyes, fully acknowledging the trouble in the relationship, and being completely aware that whatever you do, things will probably not get better—and deciding to act like Jesus anyway. Why? Because that's what Jesus' family members do. That is our family resemblance to God.
To be sure, we need to show some intelligence when we deal with people who are evil. There is no sense behaving in a way that is likely to tempt them to do more evil—for instance, by placing yourself back in the reach of an abuser. Don't do that! It's no kindness to you or to the abuser. As Jesus said, "be wise as serpents and innocent as doves" (see Matthew 10:16). And clearly, we must not place other people at risk—for instance, by bringing a known abuser to live with us and our children.
But if the risk we are running is simple ingratitude? Go for it. If we might look like fools in the eyes of the neighborhood for showing mercy? Go ahead. God Himself has been mocked and blamed by people for showing too much mercy to "the wrong people." We are in good company if people say the same about us. For it is Jesus Himself who promised paradise to a thief in full view of the mockers who watched Him dying on the cross. It is Jesus who has risen from the dead and promised to share His everlasting life with us, even though we are not worthy and are often ungrateful and sinful. What an honor to resemble Jesus and give evidence that He has made us children of the Most High!
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, live in me and through me, so that I do the things that You Yourself would do. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"