“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. —Matthew 5:43-48

We just went through the Christmas season and isn’t it interesting that Santa’s love is portrayed as conditional by many. “You better be good. Santa knows who’s naughty and who’s nice” or so children are told by their parents. “You don’t want to get just a lump of coal do you?” is another tactic that some parents use. Or a more direct statement is “If you are not good Santa won’t leave any presents under the tree.” But, apparently, in the end Santa is gracious and leaves presents for all the children, even the ones who been naughty.

The love of God extends to every person on the planet. It is just so sad that many will not accept the many daily gifts they get from Him as coming from Him. “He gives sunlight to both the evil and the good.” He also “sends the rain on the just and the unjust” in like manner. God loves all people even though the majority of people reject Him and the greatest gift He has ever given— the gift of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no greater gift given at Christmas, completed at the cross that enables a person to have relationship with God now and be with Him in heaven forever. But, so unfortunately, most will reject that Most Precious Gift of Jesus.

God calls those who have trusted Jesus to love like He does. Again, God loves all people and His followers are to do the same. Jesus wept as He looked over Jerusalem, knowing they would reject Him, beat Him and crucify Him (John 11:35). His desire was that they would come to Him, to trust Him, to love Him, but they would not. The same is true today and just as all people will not love Jesus, so not all people will love His followers. The world will treat His followers as they treated Him (John 15:18-25). We should not be surprised. Jesus told us this would happen.

Dear follower of Jesus may you and I seek to love all people regardless how they respond to us. Let us show the love of God to them. That is who we are called to be— lovers of all people.

My Father, please help me to be like You and love people as You do. May the sun and the rain be constant reminders of Your love for all people and for Your desire for me to love all people. May I do so in the lovely Name of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power.

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