“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

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In scripture, we are called to follow the example Christ set forth for us in His life, within our lives. His purpose and will is that we act in accordance with His nature, which for man can be very uncomfortable. This group of verses emphasizes that explicitly. When we consider human relations, much of mankind will only help his fellow man, if there is something in it for them. Christ gives an example of lending, but it goes much beyond materialism. A person might do it for prideful reasons, or a need to be fulfilled. Yet, Jesus tells us it’s out of love, goodness, generosity, kindness and mercy that we should do such things. These are the very attributes which exist in the Lord and by these characteristics being made evident in our lives we gain a fuller understanding of who God is and His interaction with mankind.

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It is unfortunate, but God is often so kind to us, yet we offer no repayment to God, nor even adoration. When one takes on the attributes of God, to the degree that is possible, then we are sure to be greatly disappointed in the character of man. Our gifts may go squandered and those we try to help, may refuse to help themselves. This is a taste of how God must feel given man’s behavior, even those who belong to His Son.

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"The Father's Curse: The Ungrateful Son," by Jean-Baptiste Greuze. oil on canvas, c. 1777

With our and mankind’s faults so obvious when these principles are put into action, let us turn from taking advantage of the Lord’s kindness, generosity, and love. Let us continually praise Him that by His nature He bestows great gifts unto the undeserving. Furthermore, let us realize another purpose of Christ’s words put into action. Through us Christ is revealed unto man and knowing this, an interesting relative relation takes place between showing Christ and suppressing the truth. Those who take for granted that which the Lord has blessed them with, will fail to show Christ to others in a full degree, for by their ungodly gratitude, they distort and dim the light of the gospel which is destined to shine among all man, “like stars in the sky.” (Philippians 2:15)

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