Reading Luke 6: 32-36 (NRSV)
We sometimes assume that relationships require similar effort from each party, each giving 50%.
Nancy and Fred rejected the 50-50 relationship. Instead, they went into their marriage 56 years ago aiming for 60-40; each one ensured that the effort put in got the other person at least 60% out.
In other words, they were more concerned about the benefit to the other person than the benefit to themselves.
Likewise, in today’s reading, Jesus tells his listeners not to focus on the benefit to themselves when they love or do good things for others. Even a sinner can love someone who will love them back. Instead, Jesus says we should love and do good things expecting nothing in return.
Then Jesus points to God’s love for us. God does not aim for a 50-50 relationship. God is kind even to the ungrateful or wicked.
Loving with God’s type of love does not force people to love us back. They still have a choice. They may choose to abuse or hurt, although letting them hurt us benefits no one.
Like Nancy and Fred, consider the benefit to the other person. We should love so the other person benefits, not because we expect benefit to ourselves.
God does not just love 50%. Neither should we.
Let us pray. Loving God, thank you for showing us how to love without getting loved back. May we look on all your children as worthy recipients of love. Amen.