What if I told you that “It rains on the just and the unjust” has been misquoted and misused for decades?
You know how they say, “You learn something new every day” or “You always find something new, no matter how many times you read the Bible”? Well, I’ve learned something new today and I’ve found something new as well after carefully reading scripture, and I consider it a blessing. “It rains on the just and the unjust” has been completely taken out of context.
How many times have you heard it stated or preached, “It rains on the just and the unjust” as if it’s a bad thing? If a natural disaster happened and someone who you believe was a “good person” was affected, it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear someone quote the phrase based on the popular scripture, “It rains on the just and the unjust!” (Matthew 5:45).
But what if I told you that this Bible verse has been popularly misquoted for as long as any of us can remember and that it actually doesn’t mean what we’ve thought?
While I was reading Matthew chapter five, every word just jumped off the page at me and the interpretation became so clear. Once I hit verse 43, I knew we were on the subject of loving our enemies and being kind to those who treat us unfairly. When I got to Jesus’ words, “He makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust,” revelation from Holy Spirit exploded inside of me!
This is why it’s always good to search out a matter (Proverbs 25:2). Rain has always symbolized “blessings” and “growth”. The only time rain may have been seen as a bad thing for mankind was during the Great Flood due to the evil state of the hearts of humanity, but even that could be up for debate.
Here are a few scriptures that speak of rain being a positive thing:
- I will give you rain in due season. (Lev. 26:4)
- My doctrine shall drop as the rain. (Deut. 32:2)
- No rain because they have sinned. (1 Ki. 8:35)
- Who gives rain on the earth. (Job 5:10)
- Who prepares rain for the earth. (Ps. 147:8)
- Favor is a cloud of the latter rain. (Prov. 16:15)
- Lord our God that giveth rain. (Jer. 5:24)
- Ask ye of the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. (Zech 10:1)
Matthew 5:43-48 talks all about treating your neighbors and enemies fairly and with love, so it would be completely out of place if a whole section of scripture talks about loving on people, but then randomly squeezed in is something in the lines of “God causes bad things [rain] to happen to the righteous and unrighteous”.
Yes, we know that bad things do in fact happen to the just and unjust, but that would probably fall in line with a completely different area of scripture.
Scripture does not contradict itself—people do.
When Holy Spirit gives you any type of revelation, it can always be backed up with scripture, as God cannot contradict Himself. The Passion Translation translated the interpretation almost exactly the way Holy Spirit spoke it to me:
“He [the Lord] is kind to all by bringing the sunrise for warmth and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil.”
Then, scripture concludes with speaking of loving others, regardless if they’re good to you or not, mimicking our Father in heaven. So here, Jesus is basically saying, “I will pour blessings on the just and the unjust”, as He is not a respecter of persons, and has a strong, fiery love incomparable to any other!
So, the next time you see someone who’s far from God or who isn’t such a pleasant person receiving favor or increase, then would be the appropriate time to quote, “Well, you know what they say: ‘It rains on the just and the unjust’”.