27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
This is probably one of the most difficult of Jesus's teachings to follow. I'm no saint when it comes to those who dislike me. But a brief conversation today about breastfeeding made me think about how similar we are. Someone I thought I completely disagreed with, actually had something in common with me. At first this surprised me. And then I thought... why not?
Why did I think it was outrageous, or impossible, for me to agree with someone? Yes, we disagreed on one topic. But that doesn't mean that person is evil or bad.
I must remind myself daily that I need to love my enemies. I need to love the people who attack me; love the people who yell at me; love the people who call me names; love the people who wish evils upon me. Because even if they hate me, they're still God's children. God loves all of us, even when we do wrong.
So I love these people, and hope that they can find their way back to God. I say a prayer of forgiveness for them and their family. Jesus is the only one who offers eternal forgiveness, but I can forgive them for the worldly crimes against me.
I need to stop feeding the hate of these people. These are human beings, people with families and friends. They obviously have people who love them. They have other personas and attitudes which I don't see. These personas must surely shine positive light on them. In that aspect, they must be a good person. I will be happy for that good person. That they have a good life somewhere, with good people. That they have enough money to own a computer and pay for internet; that they have enough knowledge to join facebook and chat.
My enemies are good people.
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 corinthians 13:1-7