Friday, February 25, 2011
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on 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? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48
As I was packing some things up recently I came across my high school year book. There were quite of few means girls in my class who I would have considered my enemies. I remember how I felt when they looked at me. I remember the kind of untrue gossip they spread and how their money was everything to them. They looked down on me because I was poor, dark and round, not rail thin, blond and rich. Every high school has mean girls and some go on to be mean girls in adult life. Funny, looking at the year book, I couldn't remember their names or their faces. Their hatred and scorn faded fast and they are not in my life now. How much hurting time I wasted when I was young. And none of their enemy behavior kept me from thriving and being a wife, mom or bishop.
Jesus tells his disciples that hating our enemies id easy to do. It is high school behavior, the work of the emotionally and spiritually immature. But to thrive as a person of faith, Jesus challenges us to be loving to our enemies knowing that their hatred of us and its consequences will fade like the grass, and will not keep us from thriving. Our wallowing in hate will keep us from growing, keep us from knowing fully the love of God in our lives.
And so today, I ask God to help me to forgive those who have hurt me and love them despite their behavior. Not so that I act better than them but for the sole purpose of growing in God's spirit and love in my life, so that I might be an agent of God's love and peace. May we all do the hard work today of loving and forgiving our enemies so that the light of Christ might shine through us now and always.