Breathe in clear thoughts of peace and reflection as you prepare to hear God speak to you through the scripture and the writer. Put aside all the things the world says you have to accomplish today and use this time to rest in God’s presence.
Matthew 5:43-48 (NRSV)
“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 children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 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 and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
God and Jesus love their enemies, thereby showing everyone a better, even perfect, way to live. Why does God expect believers to be as perfect as God is? Perhaps it is that by loving and doing good to one’s enemies, one could expect them to learn the right way to live, to change their attitude and behavior, to begin loving God and others, and to follow the commandments of God. Think of what any community, great or small, would be if enmity were met by love only and always. Its fire would die for want of fuel.
There is an old legend that tells how a princess, who had been changed into a serpent, was set free when a knight kissed her. The knight married the princes, with whom he lived in love and joy. The only way to change the serpent of hate into the fair form of a friend is to kiss it out of its enchantment.
Who are your “enemies”? What are their needs? What might you include in your prayers for your enemies and/or those who persecute you?
God of endless love and boundless mercy, you have often reached out to me, even when I was your enemy, and I give you thanks. Now, my life is different and I am able to love others because you first loved me. May I become more perfect in love and reach out to persons who are not kind to me and who may not love me. Help me to love them anyway. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Go with God.