As if the last one wasn’t hard enough, the bar is raised just a little higher.
Okay, I can pray for those who persecute me, but love them, really? I have enough trouble trying to love those who I really do love, don’t you? There are days when I have to work to even like myself! lol
Just to make sure we understand the weight of carrying out this instruction, Jesus tells us
45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him].
So, we are told by doing this, we show we are the children of our Father Who is in heaven. So, if we don’t do this, who’s children do others think we are, ugh!
He keeps heaping it on:
46 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that?
Today, we probably can’t understand the magnitude of what He is saying here. Tax Collectors in that day were the scum of the earth. It would be like an American saying, “Even the Russians and North Korean’s do that.” O.o Got it now?
The Gentiles, well, if you follow a sports team, just slip in the name of your team’s greatest rival, and you’ll get the picture on this one.
This next verse may not apply just to this particular instruction, but all those which preceded it as well.
48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The word translated as ‘perfect’ here implies finished, complete, the end, the goal. It’s like a child becoming an adult. It is something we should be striving for, moving toward, and excited to reach – just as when we are young and growing into adulthood.
The height of this bar will take quite a bit of practice to be able to clear it. And it can not possibly be cleared with out a little Holy Ghost power up.