Jesus emphasizes giving, not just to those who love us, but also those who hate us, curse us, despise us, and persecute us.
Jesus is letting us know that godly giving contains an element that separates it from the common sorts of charity. We know this as agape love—a kind of love that can be done without emotion, if need be. It is a kind of love that does for another what is truly best for that person rather than what will make that person happy. It is a love that looks beyond present circumstances toward the ultimate realization of the act, primarily toward the effect of our own behavior.
It is not just a love that, out of concern, gives to somebody to plug a gap and that only. It is a type of love done with a great deal of thought, in which a person thinks through the effects and consequences of his actions to their ultimate end. Therefore, the result is that he does good for the other person whether that person likes it or not.
Of course, God would want us to do these acts of agape love with a great deal of feeling out of true concern. So, it should not be a cold love. But, if necessary, it can be.
It is a love with which one must be very careful. If we read between the lines here in Luke 6, we can see that Jesus is aiming for the Kingdom of God, not for somebody's temporary help. Why would one do good to those that hate him or to someone who curses him or persecutes him unless there was an ultimate, good end for that other person?
A person who performs an act of agape love makes a witness so that in the end it will come to the other's mind in the resurrection—it might take that long—and help to convert him. It will make a stunning impact on that person's mind that this was a Christian practicing love and true good works.
Jesus mentions that in godly giving there is greater merit when there is no hope of repayment or even of gratitude because it is done selflessly. There is nothing coming back to pay or repay one for his sacrifice or gift. He is quick to say, "Look, if you do it this way, there are good returns! There are rewards!" But going into it, a Christian must not have those things in mind.
Godly living is done without respect of persons. It is done in mercy, love, and kindness, as He says in the Golden Rule, just as we would like to be treated. It is done without condemnation and thus done out of a pure heart that truly desires the other's well-being.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
"If I Have Not Charity"
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Luke 6:31: