“This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.”
(Matthew 5:45 MSG)
“He’s making a list, and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town.” So goes the traditional Christmas song, encouraging the little boys and girls to remain on Santa’s good list. But Santa is not the only one making and checking his naughty or nice list. Subconsciously, each one of us carries a similar list where we’ve determined where everyone goes—those who treat us well on the good list, while those who don’t on the naughty list. This list will occasionally pop us whenever we’re asked to do something for that person. If we think they’re deserving of our help, we extend it graciously, but if they’re not, we think about all the reasons why we shouldn’t help them. And that’s not all. We often think that God should have a similar list as us. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
In Matthew 5, Jesus had the following to say to His audience, who were “familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy,’” challenging them to “love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves”’ (Matthew 5:43-44). Unlike Santa and unlike us, God doesn’t have a naughty or nice list which He goes by. Listen carefully to the following words of Jesus, “This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty” (v.45). And as His children, Jesus tells us, we’re to be like Him (v.48). So the next time you catch yourself checking your naughty or nice list twice, remember the words of Jesus and do good to all.
You are most like God when you are good to those who don’t deserve it. – Joyce Meyer