Food in the Bible: Matthew 5:43-45

Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”

This is one of the most difficult sayings of Jesus. I never realized that it was immediately connected to creation for its justification. Jesus says that the reason we should love even our enemies is that God does. God shows no partiality, but gives the same creation to everyone. This goes back to the creation story where humanity receives its inherent dignity and worth by virtue of their creation in God’s image.

Part of what it means to follow Jesus is to be conformed to the likeness of God. Here, Jesus makes it clear that this goes for God’s role as Creator as well. We are to imitate God by showing the same love and mercy that God does to all people.

Jesus does this by pointing out that creation does not show partiality. Floods do not discriminate between poor and wealthy houses. However, this immediately raises an important point. God does not discriminate, but we do. While floods do not distinguish between people, it is clear that the poor are usually more affected by extreme weather events than the wealthy. This was made clear in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Poor people can’t afford good housing, flood insurance. In Katrina they couldn’t afford to get out of town either and were trapped.

Often we hear extreme Christian commentators call these weather events God’s judgment on America or others. In one sense this is actually true. These weather events that Jesus clearly says do not discriminate between the “righteous and unrighteous” reveal the sinfulness of the way we treat our fellow human beings.

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