by Graham Mol
As I write this I am treated to a gentle rumble overhead and the tap tap tap of droplets striking the ground. A familiar and beloved scent fills my nostrils, there is nothing quite like the smell of rain, especially here in Africa. A passage of Scripture comes to mind of how God “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” This snippet comes from Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor 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. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
In Jesus command for us to love our enemies He grounds it in what theologians call the Providence of God. God who created and sustains the universe is also involved in directing it according to His will. This includes the rising of the sun (or the more scientifically correct but less romantic sounding turning of the earth) and the sending of the rain. All things great and small are under His caring oversight. What this means is that all good things that we as human beings receive, a new day to live, life-giving rain, we receive from Him, regardless of our relationship or lack of relationship with Him.
Jesus is saying that God shows love to His enemies by still giving them good things. This is a very good thing for us, since even if we are believers now, we were at one stage His enemies. We can be glad that God shows love to His enemies for we all need the sun and the rain.
If we follow Jesus’ command and love our enemies, still doing good for them and blessing them even if they don’t deserve it, then we will be like that bright morning sun, that cool refreshing rain, in their lives. If we love our enemies, we will be like our heavenly Father, who through His goodness blesses all.
The shower of rain was all too brief this afternoon, but the memory of it remains for me. The air is clearer, fresher, more fragrant. The earth is also richer, having received the necessary minerals from the falling droplets. May our loving actions bring the same rejuvenation into our environments as we shower others with love.