"If you love them which love you, what reward have you? Do not even the publicans the same?"      

The test of love is not in loving our friends as that would be too easy. Jesus taught this plainly in His Sermon on the Mount and at other times. He asked pointedly: "If you love them which love you, what reward have you? Do not even the publicans the same?" The publicans were the most despised class of people at the time, but even they loved their friends.      

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you."  That is God's standard of love among mankind. It is a hard requirement to meet. By nature we revolt against the very idea. Love our friends? YES. We are willing to help them in their needs, to bring them fine gifts, and to show them every form of kindness, though it must be admited that at times we fail even in loving our friends. But, generally speaking, this part of Christian love does not give us too much difficulty. But to love our enemies takes a measure of Christian strength that can come only from God. He will help us to pray for our enemies, to love them, to help them, even as the Good Samaritan helped the Jew who had fallen among the thieves.      

Christian friends, Jesus commanded us in Matt. 5:44 to do good to those who hate us. When we do, it may create a change in their hearts. Even when it doesn't, the benefits of loving are great. We receive God's supernatural grace and strength, and we have the confidence that we are faithfully representing our Heavenly Father. And for the Christian, that in itself is rewarding.  

The good we do is never lost; Each kindly act takes root, And every bit of love we sow In time will bear its fruit.  

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - Love reduces friction to a fraction.