Monday, June 18, 2018

“We must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy. Each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. A persistent civil war rages within all of our lives.” – Remember that the next time you are called to forgive another!

There may come a time when it will be possible for you to humiliate your worst enemy or even to defeat him, but in order to love the enemy you must not do it... The Greek language has another word [for love]. It calls it agape. Agape is more than romantic love. Agape is more than friendship. Agape is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men. Agape is an overflowing love, a spontaneous love, which seeks nothing in return. And theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart. When you rise to love on this level you love all men, not because you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, not because they are worthful to you, but you love all men because God loves them. And you rise to the noble heights of loving the person who does the evil deed while hating the deed that the person does. And I think this is what Jesus means when he says, “Love your enemies.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.: (1929 – 1968: was an American Baptist minister and activist) 

Gospel Text:(MT 5:43-48)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"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,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Do I love my enemies?  Do I pray for those who persecute me?  It shouldn't be very hard to come up with people that fall into this category:  from people who bug me to people I simply can't stand.  I should include people who really don't like me.  Of course, anyone who has hurt me badly in the past should go on this list.  And, I can even let myself consider "classes of people" I don't care too much for - the people who act or think differently from me.

Next, before I become terribly discouraged about ever being able to be Christian at all, if it means loving people on this list, I can simply and humbly ask our Lord for the grace he wants to give me to love these people the way he has loved me: with patience, compassion, healing and peace.

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