Verse: Matthew 5:46-48
“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? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Loving people can be challenging. As these verses state, it’s easy to love those who love us. When we receive love and attention, it’s easy to be in a good mood and reciprocate those feelings. However, God calls us to go beyond that and love everyone – even those who have wronged us. This can be a daunting task. Additionally, verse 48 calls us to be “perfect” as God is perfect. How can we meet these standards? The truth is, we can’t on our own. We need Jesus to bridge the gaps of our imperfection. Only by following Jesus and reflecting His light can we share the kind of love that transcends worldly norms.

It’s easy to fall into a mindset of entitlement and defensiveness, feeling justified in our hurt because someone wronged us. It’s easier to become a victim of our circumstances. But we are called to rise above. We are called to turn the other cheek and to love those who seem unlovable.

The Book of Hosea, a small book in the Old Testament, tells the story of the prophet Hosea, who is commanded by God to marry Gomer, a woman described as promiscuous and unfaithful. Despite Gomer’s repeated infidelities, Hosea continues to love her and remains committed. This steadfast love serves as a powerful symbol of God’s unwavering love for the people of Israel, often depicted as unfaithful and disobedient. Hosea’s love for Gomer, despite her actions, reflects the theme of grace and unconditional love.

Ultimately, we all need love that we do not deserve. God continues to pursue us despite our wrong decisions. I have broken God’s heart time and again, yet He still waits for me to return. He continues to love me through my failures. Let us reflect God’s character and do the same for people in our lives.

How can you go out of your way to love others today – whether they “deserve” it or not?

Author: Joanna Martin