be more righteous part 7 - grace not karma

What does it mean to be more righteous than the Pharisees? Read part 1,2,3,4,5,6
Matthew 5:44-47
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
This passage includes one of the most misquoted passages in the entire bible. The phrase "the sun shines on the righteous" with the rest of the sentence missing is used to justify a karma-like idea. What goes around comes around. Good things will happen to good people. This is exactly the opposite of the point Jesus is making.

As soon as we start to think about loving our enemies we will start to think "why should I?". The answer Jesus gives is because that is what God does. He makes the sun shine on the righteous AND the unrighteous, he sends rain on the people who love him AND the people who hate him.

Jesus points out that everyone loves their friends, even the people that the Pharisees class as scum. God's people are called to be different. Christians should be known as people who love those who are different to us instead of maintaining a suspicious distance. Christians should be known as people who break down barriers to love others instead of erecting those barriers. Christians should be known for loving those who don't like them, rather than treating their enemies the same way. People of grace not karma Why? God loves his enemies. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This attitude is completely counter-cultural and will certainly be noticed - see this example: