If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.                                                                                          Matthew 5:47 NLT

Love should be this incredible easy thing, something you just experience and give so freely, a feeling that flows uncontrollably from others and from us with absolutely zero effort.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Unfortunately that is not the case, people can be decidedly unlovely, making it difficult to choose to love them when love hasn’t been shown. But that seems to be the problem doesn’t it? We tend to treat love like there’s a prerequisite of love shown in order to show love, or at least like it needs to be reciprocated in order for us to continue to show love.

Christians aren’t supposed to allow circumstances to dictate whether or not we show love to other people because while were still sinners we were shown the most intense love imaginable (actually beyond our imagination). It is an act most ungrateful to behave unlovely towards other people, regardless of their actions.

When we refrain or withhold love from people we have effectively stopped loving them. We make light of this when we excuse our actions based on other people, when there is no excuse for us.

“Even pagans do that” isn’t meant to be a slight against pagans as we know them today, rather an observation, made by Jesus, of people who had not been transformed by God’s love who had shown love to their friends.  The point isn’t about pagans, it’s a reference to how we (who’ve experienced the power of God) should behave differently than those who haven’t.

Jesus’ question is, of course, timely for us, “how are you different”? I invite you and I to ask ourselves that very important question today.

How are you different? 

In what ways are you showing love to unlovely? In what ways are you expressing the power of Christ in you?