“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again …” (Luke 6:35)
We may make a good decision to not do unto others what they are doing to us. We may follow the admonition of Jesus to do unto others what we would want them to do to us. But we fall into a trap when we do so expecting them to appreciate our actions and do us good in return.
Surely, it is a bitter thing to not be requited for a good. It is easy to become indignant toward the unthankful. We marvel at those who take from us, but don’t give back. We can then make a decision to reward them according to their deeds, saying, “If they give little to me, then I will give little to them.” The greatest test of graciousness is ingratitude. Revenge is never gracious.
But the Lord anticipated this all too common response when He said: “lend, hoping for nothing again” (Luke 6:35). Jesus is not simply advocating the law of lowered expectations to help us cut down on disappointment, He is advocating against the mentality which gives in order to get.
When we do good to others, we should not be surprised when they don’t return the favor. We should remind ourselves that our motivation to give was not to get, but to display the grace and mercy of our God, who gives to men despite what they give (or don’t give) to Him.
And although our expectations are lowered when it comes to man’s response to our giving, our expectation should be raised when it comes to God’s response to our amazing grace. For then “your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” (Luke 6:35)