Imagine you had a large amount of money that you wanted to invest. What would you invest it in? I have very limited knowledge about the world of financial investment. However, I do know you would want to invest your money in something that gives you a good return. You may consider purchasing property or shares that will ultimately yield higher profits. It is unlikely you would invest in something that would not generate any return.
This is often how we perceive love. We tend to direct our love towards those we believe will reciprocate our emotional investment. We do not just give away our love to people who do not love us back. Jesus challenges this thinking in Matthew, chapter 5:
43 You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Loving those who harbour hatred towards you may initially appear to be a risky investment, exposing yourself to potential pain. Yet, this perspective shifts when you realise that this mirrors the way God loves you. He loves you even if you are running in the opposite direction from Him, ignoring Him or treating Him like he does not exist.
Even when Jesus had been abandoned and rejected by almost everyone, he still made his way to the cross and gave up his life to bring us home to God. That is how we have been shown love. Therefore, the logical question becomes: how can we love by any other standard? We are compelled to love, even if we do not receive anything in return.
Jesus says if you want to know what God’s love is like, you should observe the rain. God does not just send rain upon those deserving but upon both the good and the evil. Our love should mirror the love God has shown us. Sadly, we often yearn for such love, yet struggle to extend it to others.