2.05.2009

Kindness to the ungrateful and wicked

Warning: Confused and heretical rant ahead.

There is a text I have been struggling with the last couple days. It comes from the Bible, the book of Luke, chapter 6 verses 35 and 36. It says:

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

I am okay up through the first sentence, it is logical to me; love your enemies, do good to them, but don’t expect anything in return. I can handle that. I have people I am not a fan of, but I can be polite - okay, I guess that is not loving them, I still have work to do, but I GET it. You want to know why? Because in the book of Psalms I hear David talking about a God that will take revenge for him. We don’t need to seek that for ourselves. God is a righteous God that will make sure justice is served in the end.

But then I read on. I get to the part that says God is “kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” What? I mean, if I really think about it, I am thankful for a God like this. I want to serve a God that is kind and merciful – but if I am completely honest with you, sometimes I don’t think it is fair that God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

I can’t help but think about some of the pimps of the women that I work with. Some of them are the personification of EVIL here on earth. The things they have done to these girls are unimaginable. How am I to be merciful as God is merciful to these individuals when all I feel is anger and rage in my heart for how they have treated another human being?

What about traffickers? What about those who force children into war? What about those who are slave holders? What about corrupt governmental officials that do nothing about all of this? What about these people – WHY is God showing his kindness and mercy to them? ESPECIALLY when they are ungrateful and unwilling to receive it?

I guess, bottom line, I’m a fan of a God that wants (and does) save everyone; a God that is about grace. But I am sure glad that when he gives us texts like the ones above…the kindness and mercy to others is not reliant on my actions. Because I most often lack the ability to love those whom I believe are wicked. I have a hard time overlooking my concern that they experience justice in the end.

3 comments:

Louis said...

Nice post! I don’t all the answers, in fact I don’t have many. But I do know that God has always been what I needed. When I needed a righteous God, He was there. And when I needed a merciful God He was there. I might not always see it at the time, but always know He is who I need at the time.

The other important think I realized: In comparison to the perfection of Jesus, I’m in no way any better than the pimps you describe. In my eyes I might think I’m better and deserve a loving God while they deserve a God that will strike them down. But in Gods eyes, without the covering of Jesus, I look just as disgustingly evil as they do.

douglas said...

thanks for this.

this sentence sat with me: "But I am sure glad that when he gives us texts like the ones above…the kindness and mercy to others is not reliant on my actions."

how often we receive this kindness and never blink an eye. and yet i can't agree with you more...what is kindness to our enemies? do we confuse it (rightly or wrongly?) with meekness? or passivity? i don't know. post again when you have some more thoughts on this...

Regina Marie said...

Hi there..in a sense, He's shown us the same in that we were lost as well. Maybe that's the light out of the tunnel for many? There is the parable of the workers who didn't put in a full day but were paid the same for those who did..and this verse here in Ro. 12:20 comes to mind...But "if your enemy is hungry, feed him. For if he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will pile burning coals on his head." (shame)I guess the absoulute uniqueness of the cross and living reality of mercy as well as our need to be constantly fine tuned-(mercy/forgiveness)..That's just what came to my mind? Sometime when we look back on our life, we shudder. If we magnify this reality to others in faith (you can't possibly know what they think or the day they will apply it)- Anyway, My name is Regina Marie-