Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Rain for the Just and the Unjust

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45)

These are the “red words,” the words of Jesus. But often I hear people take the last line of the verse and grossly misuse it. They say, “Well, you know, God lets it rain on the just and the unjust,” and from the tone of their voice and the context of what they are saying, they mean it in a negative way. Like the old song that said, “Into each life some rain must fall.”

But Jesus meant this in a very positive way. For a day at the beach or a picnic in the park, you probably don’t want to see much rain. But for an agrarian economy, farmers looked for, even longed for, the early and latter rains. Rain is a very good thing.

So Jesus was not saying here that God sends bad things upon the just as well as the unjust. He is not even saying that God sends bad things upon the unjust at all. Quite the opposite: God sends sunshine for the those who are evil as well as those who are good. And He gives rain, not just for the just, but for the unjust as well.

Notice that Jesus started out by saying, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those you hate you.” Love, bless, do good—not just for your friends, but for your enemies as well. That is God’s way, and when we follow it, we show ourselves to be sons of the Father. “Sons” speaks of maturity, and our love and kindness toward our enemies demonstrates that we are indeed part of the family of God—we’re living up to the family name.

There are, without a doubt, battles and negative circumstances which God’s people must face, even as the unjust do. But they do not come from God. God gives only good gifts (James 1:17). So when He sends the sun, it is to bless, even the unjust. When He sends the rain, it is to do good, even to the unjust.

God’s purpose is for us to be a means of blessing. When He blesses us, it is not only for ourselves, but for all those around as well. In that way, even our very presence becomes a blessing to others, for God will always watch out for us and take care of us. He blesses with such abundance that we cannot help but for it to splash over onto others. It is designed for their benefit as well as ours, for the goodness of God leads to repentance (Romans 2:4).

We are called to partner with God in blessing. We are to demonstrate our love, even to our enemies, to bless even those who curse us, to do good, even to those who hate us. That’s what it means to be “grown up” in the Lord, and everyone will see who our Father is.