“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
“…to you who are willing to listen…” and what follows are hard words to obey. Today is a day of remembering an evil done to those among us by an enemy that does not love us. Today is a day of remembering the suffering of many through the violent acts of others. Yet Jesus says “…Love your enemies…”
What does that love look like? Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. These actions are opposite what humanity wants to do. Humanity wants to retaliate, curse in return. Watch children at play who suddenly begin to fight… the natural man/woman does not have it in them to love the aggressor. This love Jesus talks about is an attitude of the mind and soul that practices compassion and mercy. The aggressor is bankrupt in their soul. When we can see that, we can love as God loves. ” For God so loved the world, He gave His only son…”
“…Do to others as you would like them to do to you. ” We teach this to our children as an attitude and a mind-set. We teach it as a proactive manner of living. Here it is used to teach us how to react to the evil that comes against us. This is also how we are to react to the aggressor.
Is our remembering filled with hatred for those who destroyed and killed the loved ones among us? “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay…” Jesus calls for love in return; we show our gratitude to God for the love He extends to us through our obedience to His Words. We are not asked to love the deed, we are being asked to see it as it truly is…a soul condition that is lost and needs reuniting with the Lord of Creation. The humanity that is operating under the influence of a spirit that does not love is to be shown mercy and compassion. We have concern for the eternal not the temporal. ” …You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”
And so we pray: “…forgive us as we forgive…if my people, called by my name, humble themselves and pray, Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins. – O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.”