"For He is kind to the unthankful and evil."
Here is a question for you: is God merciful, or is He just? The answer is yes. There are many of us that want to paint God as one or the other. Some have the idea that God is like a doting grandfather that loves His children so much that he turns a blind eye to their sin. Others have the idea that God is this raging warrior with fire in his eyes waiting for us to fail so he can send curses upon our lives. How is it that we can have such extreme views of God? I think that it is quite simple.
Too often we try to make God like us. Most of the people that we know are either very compassionate people, or they are very stern and strict. Therefore, it is hard to understand the balance of God's mercy and His justice. In the context of this passage, Jesus was instructing His followers to love their enemies. This love was not simply to be a verbal acknowledgment, but He told them that they needed to prove their love by their actions. It is hard for most of us to fathom loving our enemies so much that we look for opportunities to bless them, but that is exactly what Jesus instructed us to do. If you do this, then be prepared to be treated like Christ. What do I mean by that? Christ has shown mercy to countless numbers of men that never returned love to Him. That is why Jesus said to show this love to our enemies without expecting anything in return. One of the traits of a merciful person is that they are willing to be ignored and even mistreated by the very people that they love. The Bible teaches us that God allows it to rain on the just and on the unjust. He does not show kindness to any of us because we deserve it. It is only by His mercy and grace that we receive anything from His hand.
So, does this great mercy cancel out God's justice? Absolutely not. Even though He may show mercy to undeserving sinners, He is still holy and righteous in His very nature. He cannot tolerate sin, and He will not allow it into His kingdom. God in His mercy provided a way for all men to have their sins atoned for so that they might not experience His wrath and judgment on sin. While on this earth He will give men the opportunity of His mercy and grace and display it to them on an every day basis, He is still the judge of all men's hearts. Those who reject the love and grace offered to them will most certainly know that God is a just God in that final day. No man should ever see God's mercy and compassion as an approval of their sinful lifestyle. They should see it as a compassionate God displaying what He desires to do for them for eternity.
May you see God as He really is today!