If you want to get a little taste of what God is like, try loving your enemies, lending money to those you know won’t pay you back, and then try being kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. What does this do to one’s sense of justice and fairness? What could this possibly be about? Jesus can’t be serious about this, can he?
Here’s what I think. I think Jesus is getting us to think this way because he wants us to see something important about ourselves.
After all, what are we thinking here… that we are God’s friends, that we always pay back what we borrow, and that we are most certainly grateful and holy, and that’s why it’s so hard for us to understand why God would ask us, the holy ones, to be kind to all these wicked and ungrateful folks? Gee, somehow we’re going to have to find it in ourselves to love these awful people. But I suppose that if God can do it, we can too. It will be a stretch, but we will try… Is that what this is about?
Hardly. Here’s what I think it means:
There is relatively little difference between the most ungrateful, wicked people I can think of and me, and I had better be deeply grateful that God is, in fact, “unfair” in this way, because otherwise there would be no hope for me. I know this is what Jesus is saying because the very next verse is: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful [to you].” And that is followed up with: “Do not judge and you will not be judged.” See where He’s going with this?
When you look at it this way, it changes the whole picture.
Love your enemies and be kind to those who, like you, have received the kindness of God when you didn’t deserve it. And if you are ever tempted to think of God as being unfair, then go all the way and rejoice in the glorious inequity of grace that has made unlikely room for you and me, and in that same spirit of “unfairness,” make room in your heart for others.