When people can’t get along with one another, they often say that if the other person would just do this or that, then all could be forgiven and they could move along in harmony. Of course, many die of old age stubbornly waiting out some relative or former friend who is equally stubborn or no longer caring enough to make the effort to reconcile.
Imagine how the terrible the world would be if God waited for His sinful creation to move back to Him first, instead of Him reaching out to reconcile with them. So God moved first.
As John reminded the disciples, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 Jn. 4:10,11)
His mercy and grace moved towards us while we were in sin. He lovingly sent His son to die for us while we were in sin and covered in shame. He worked to save us through Jesus long before we moved in any way towards Him. So now we are called to do the same.
Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, taught His disciples, saying, “Love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for his is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35,36)
We’re to be kind and good even to those who don’t deserve it because that’s what God did for us. When people are unkind and ungrateful that’s when they most need us to kind and gracious to them, just as God was to us.