Wednesday, February 20, 2019
“If you love those who love you what credit is that to you?” [Luke 6:32]
These words set the stage for Jesus’ challenge to come, for it is easy to love those who love us. It is easy to love those who shower us with praise and make us feel good. Think Sopranos (a TV depiction of a crime family), even those who perpetrate all sorts of crimes against others, love their own families. So, Jesus doesn’t settle for what is easy, implying that to love only those who love you is not the whole gospel. Jesus says the gospel is more expansive and demanding, so “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” But, how do we do this is? One way I have done this is to imagine the person (enemy or abuser) as a vulnerable infant, one that needs care from others to even survive. Then I hand the person over to God as a vulnerable infant, trusting that God will release the control that this person has had on my life, for I never want to become bitter or resentful, rage-filled, or consumed by whatever has been perpetrated against me. A story of a mother whose son was murdered always comes to mind when I read this passage, for her son’s murderer, another young man, eventually became like a son to her. This took years and rivers of tears, yet the mother chose to love her enemy rather than let her enemy consume her life with anger, rage and heartache. Loving our enemies is possible by the power of God’s Spirit at work within us.
Holy One, this one line of scripture challenges every fiber of my being. I want to be faithful. I want to love as expansively as you do, but I admit I need your help. Without your presence, I cannot even begin to fathom the possibility of loving those who have harmed me or hate me. Those I deem my enemies. So, grant me the courage to trust that you can help me do what seems impossible. Amen.