“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”
Luke 6:35-36 NLT
Versions of this, the so-called Golden Rule, existed in the rabbinic writings, Greek philosophy, and in Hinduism and Buddhism. Those formulations, however, cast the rule in a negative sense; they advocate not doing to others what you would not want them to do to you.
The Greek philosopher Isocrates wrote, “Do not do to others that which angers you when they do it to you” (Nicocles, 3.60). In his Analects, Confucius counseled, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself” (XV.24). The apocryphal book of Tobit commands, “Do that to no man which thou hatest” (4:15). The famous Jewish rabbi Hillel summed up the Torah in the statement, “What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor” (Talmud; Shabbat 31a).
There is a subtle but significant difference in the way the Lord phrased this principle. The negative versions of the Golden Rule are the epitome of human ethics. Yet they are little more than self-serving expressions of self-love, concerned primarily with obtaining good treatment for oneself in return. Jesus, however, calls for selfless love, love that focuses solely on the well-being of its object. The love He commands seeks to treat others the way it would want to be treated by them—even if they do not love that way in return. That is how God loves, and that supernatural love is impossible on the human level. Only Christians are capable of it, “because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). (Grace to you)
In my opinion, the critical section of this scripture is this, “Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.” Repaid? When we do things in life, we always are checking what’s in it for me. How many of us do things without expectation. I have met many people especially Christians that don’t expect anything in return.
Acquittance of mine went through a divorce recently. They fell on hard times. His wife lost her business because of a crooked partner. His position in the downturn also became strained. He lost 50% of his income. They stuck together for a long time trying to work things out. To improve their position, he even moved to Joburg. His wife met somebody else and forced the divorce. She thought that he had money and could improve her situation. Today they aren’t together. My question is why?
Let’s rather consider the principle. Doing things with a wrong expectation, getting together for the wrong reasons. It’s has been proven over and over again that it won’t last. That is why the Bible, our life handbook, demands us to lend without repayment. In the commentary, the writer refers to selfless love. One expects nothing in return. Remember yesterday I said that we should be weened off our old habits. This, most probably, is one of the hardest things to do. I think of my daily tasks we are always, thinking what’s in it for me.
This verse refers to love. That bad habit we have, what’s in it for me, lingers with us, in the area of love as well. I am going to use that word selfless here. Are we that?
It’s not about you. It’s about unconditional love.
Lord, I pray for humility, make me humble in every way. In Jesus name. Amen.”