Matthew 5: 38-48
Love Your Enemies
“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
Jesus was brought to us as a human person, He understands the struggles we have and He understands the knee jerk reaction to lash out at another human person. Jesus realises that forgiveness is a healing process and He walks that journey with us.
Today Jesus challenges us to real forgiveness. It is easy to forgive something small or to forgive your friends. To forgive something that has caused great hurt or great sadness take each one of us some time and soul searching. Jesus challenges us to not only forgive those we love but those we do not.
Without reconciliation in our hearts and in our lives peace can never really be found, as bitterness and anger take root and grow. This is why Jesus challenges us today, he wants us to be people of love, people of forgiveness and people of peace, and its only when that ‘glue’ of forgiveness is present that we can really make this happen.
A small pebble dropped in a pool of water creates a ripple effect. The waves travel outwards growing larger and larger as they go. The pool is just like our life, the pebble that moment of forgiveness that sends ripples of love that touch the lives of those around us.
The waves of love and friendship that result from that simple act of forgiveness will only ever encourage others to follow in those footsteps.
Salesian Lay Chaplain
Father of all forgiveness.
Help us to forgive the unforgiving,
to love the unloving,
to befriend the friendless,
and help us to bring peace to the troubled of heart.