"The Lord commands us to do good to everyone without exception, even though the majority don't deserve it. Scripture adds a splendid reason, when it tells us that we are not to think about what men deserve in themselves, but to look at the image of God which exists in everyone, and to which we all owe honour and love.
The same rule should be even more carefully observed in those who are of the household of faith, since that image is renewed and restored in them by the Spirit of Christ. It doesn't matter who the person is needing your help: you have no excuse for refusing it.
Say he is a stranger: The Lord, in renewing the image of God in him, has given him a mark which ought to be familiar to you, so he forbids you to despise your own flesh (Gal. 6:10).
Say he is humble and little thought of: The Lord points to him as one in whom his own image shines (Isa. 58:8).
Say you feel no ties of obligation towards him: The Lord puts him in his own place, so that you may realize the great obligation you are under to him.
Say he is totally unworthy of any efforts you may make for him: The image of God, which commends him to you, is worthy of everything in you, and anything you can do. Even if he is totally undeserving, and has also angered you by hurt and wrong-doing, there is no valid reason why you should not enfold him in love and load good deeds upon him (Matt. 6:14; 18:35; Luke 17:3).
He deserves something very different from me, you may well say. But what has the Lord deserved? As we think of him, we can achieve the difficult and unnatural: we can love those that hate us, give good for evil, and blessing for cursing (Matt. 5:44), remembering that we are not to dwell on the evil in men, but look to the image of God in them. This image covers and obliterates their faults, and by it beauty and dignity draws us to love and to embrace them."
from John Calvin's The Institutes of Christian Religion (p. 165)
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