“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” ~(Matthew 5: 43)
For some time now, I have been thinking about this passage–about Jesus’ challenging words that we should pray for our enemies. Difficult to put into practice and yet if we are to live in God’s peace, these words might be an important key to His kingdom.
There too, I have always been attracted to the idea of America’s original motto of 1782: “E Pluribus Unum” or “Out of the Many, One”
And I wonder if it might be more powerful paired with our current motto since 1956: “In God We Trust”
Either way, it seems we have lost the vision of civility from our Founding Fathers…
Holding these thoughts hand in hand, I ask:
Who is My Enemy?
We can all agree that our enemy would be someone who persecutes us or does any of our loved ones harm. Someone who has caused us physical or emotional injury; who is knowingly seeking to cause us pain by becoming involved in an ongoing battle to achieve our ultimate destruction…
And yet the call of our Savior and yes, even his example on the cross, was to pray for and love someone such as this?
I must admit I really struggle with this at times. And I can see that my human tendency is to pull away from people who are contrary to me until they cease to exist in my world.
Haven’t we all done that? Haven’t we all wished someone away or thought that if only that person or those people weren’t around anymore, things would be much better – more peaceful.
And so we turn away from people who hold opposing beliefs and stop listening and we try to carry on pretending they just aren’t there… which is ok isn’t it since we never called them our enemy…right?
I love how the above cartoon, paints a picture of the noise we struggle to ignore each day as we work and live in this world.
But what would our orchestra look like if all the players ceased to exist? Who would we make music with and is it music if no one is listening?
I want to encourage you this week to think of someone who is in opposition to your beliefs, someone who you might have wished away, and pray for them. Ask God to show you their virtues and strengths. Try to really see them and endeavor to listen to what their heart is trying to say.
It is amazing how the Spirit of God will begin to work on your heart to bring reconciliation and peace back into your life. I know he has mine:)
“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 brothers, what are you doing more that others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Matthew 5:46-48
…make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. ~ Francis of Assisi
May God’s vision of peace be with you:)
2 Comments Add yours
VERY timely reflection, Jennifer. And yes, challenging. Thank you.
Thanks for reading and commenting dear friend, challenging for me too.