“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? —Matthew 5:43-47

Who do you hang around with? Only others who love the Lord Jesus? Do you have any friends that do not know Him? Do you just love those who know Jesus or do you have a love for those who do not? Do you love only those who like or love you or do you love those also who do not like or love you?

In the passage above our Father in heaven does not withhold His goodness from those who are good or evil. He doesn’t keep the sunshine from those who are evil and just allow it to shine only on those who are good in His sight. Nor does He allow the rain just to fall on the crops of those farmers that are good in His sight. No, He allows the rain to fall on the evil and the good and He extends this “common grace” to all people on the earth regardless if they hate Him or love Him.

What about you and me? Do we withhold love and kindness from anyone? If so it is probably an indicator that we do not love them. That is true whether a person knows the Lord Jesus or not. There are those in the church who withhold their love from others in the church because of differences or conflict of some sort. So also it is with believers who have differences or conflict with those who do not know Jesus.

But we are to be salt and light to all people to encourage those who know Jesus and to bear witness to Jesus so those who do not know Him may respond to Him. So, who do we need to start loving? Who have we not been willing to serve and extend grace to? May the Lord help us to change course and love as He has called us to do!

Dear Father, please search my heart and show me if there are any who I am willfully and intentionally not loving. May I love others as You do and do so in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power.

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