It stormed here this past Monday. I was sitting in my office looking out the window as the storm rolled in. I kept checking the radar to see how big of a storm we were going to get, and it showed that a heavy thunderstorm was on its way. It started with a sprinkle, but within a few minutes, it became a total downpour. As I watched the rain come down, I thought to myself, “this will be good for the garden.” I got excited knowing that my wife and I wouldn’t need to water the crops for a couple days and that it would give our vegetables a bit of a growth spurt. Then it occurred to me that it would also give our grass a growth spurt and it meant I was going to need to mow as soon as it dried up. I was less excited about that.
I continued watching the storm and Matthew 5:45 popped into my head, “For he makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” This is a famous verse that gets quoted quite often. Rain, back in biblical times, was viewed as good. Most people worked on farms at that time, whether it was their own or someone employed them. If it didn’t rain, crops wouldn’t grow. If the crops didn’t grow then people would starve. They were dependent on the rain to survive.
The overall point that Jesus was making in that verse is that God pours out his blessings on both the “righteous” and “unrighteous.” We tend to have some hesitancies when we hear that. It goes to the age-old question, “Why do good things happen to bad people?” It doesn’t make sense to us. Why would God bless those who are openly living their lives in a way that opposes his word? The answer to that is simple. He is love. (1 John 4:8)
In that Matthew passage, Jesus is calling us to do the same as God. “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) We are to love all people the same. It is not our position to judge whether or not someone is righteous. It is our position to imitate God to the best of our ability, and I think a good place to start with that is to love all people just as God does. In his devotional, “The One Year Walk with God” Chris Tiegreen says, “The Kingdom of God knows only one species of human beings: His Children.” (p. 185)
It should be the desire of our hearts to become more like God. The fancy theological word for that is sanctification. There is nothing that will make us more like God then loving people. Loving someone doesn’t mean that you condone or support their lifestyle or decisions. There have been plenty of times that I have made choices that go against God’s desire for my life, but that hasn’t stopped him from loving me. Thanks be to God for that. We should love people that same way. We need to move out of the judgement seat and take permanent residence in the mercy seat.
We all have the same choice to make each day, either we are going to love people the way God does, or we’re not.