Loving Pagans

Monday, May 4

Mt. 5:45. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” This idiomatic expression contains a wealth of truth. Sunshine and rain are absolute necessities. We won’t survive without them. God’s providential care is freely given to believers and unbelievers alike. Since God cares for both evil people and righteous people, we who are Christians need to do likewise. This verse is part of the “Sermon on the Mount” and is in the middle of a passage about how enemies and persecutors are to be treated. Verse 43: “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’” (This is our normal practice.) Verse 44: “But I tell you: ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’” (This is God’s way.) And it’s just as pertinent today as it was in Jesus’ time and throughout succeeding centuries. The ungodly will always persecute the godly. The paragraph ends with a warning that if we do not love our enemies and pray for them, we are no better than they are. If God loves the ungodly, we need to do the same. Most of us spend little or no time praying for our friends and fellow Christians, let alone “pagans.” If I care that people are bound for hell, I will do something about it. I will accept abuse without complaint. I will love them and do what I can to love them into God’s family. Understanding this is the easy part; practicing it is the hard part.

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