“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
I want to be the kind of person that if I’ve had the worst day ever, someone has totally keyed my car, or talked badly about my loved one, or was rude to me at the market, I cannot think so much about myself. Maybe I’ll feel angry. Of course, I’ll be angry. But I will take a moment and just feel bad for this person, to have empathy for this person, to recognize that in some ways this person is already in hell, that they’re living in a life that is completely separated from God’s love and power.
And that is why Christian love is a miracle. Christian love is a miracle because most of us are going to respond to people based on how they treat us. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” Everybody does that.
What makes Christians unique in the way they treat others is this: Even if you’re having the worst day ever, even if nothing is going your way, even if everything in your life circumstantially is falling apart, God loves this person who has angered you and, therefore, you love this person. There’s something bubbling in your heart that says, “I will love this person regardless of how I feel.”
Prayer: Dear Lord, regardless of how I feel about certain difficult people, I will find a way to love. It’s not my feelings but your love that is important. Give me strength. Amen.
Reflection: What would it take for you to love that most unlovable person in your life?