Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…
A wonderful read that has caused me to look more deeply into my life, my faith and my everyday meditations. Today, as I finished the chapter on ‘A Peaceful Heart’ this passage spoke to me
“When we try to overcome evil with evil we are not working for peace. If you say “Saddam Hussein is evil. We have to prevent him from continuing to be evil,” and if you then use the same means he has been using you are exactly like him.” ch.6 pg 52
Let that sink in a bit….
“You have heard it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? “
He speaks of learning to understand our enemies to see their suffering to see the world from their view. As I sit here and think of the Christians just beheaded by ISIS, the 24 people they burned alive, how can I understand them? The hope is in understanding we will then find love for our neighbor. So easy to love one another when it’s the pie baking Christian friend next door. How can we learn to love the worst of the worst? We are commanded just like the good Samaritan to pick up the strays, the dirty, the poor, the ones that believe everything that we do not. Love your neighbor, all of them. This does not mean become a doormat for the wicked, but in our fight we must fight back with love. Our weapon is love, compassion, understanding. Tough stuff.
I cannot understand why someone would do the things that these people are doing, I don’t know that I can ever understand that kind of violence against another human being. I am not asking you to either, but I am trying to learn more, to listen more, and on a smaller scale resolve conflict peacefully and with Love. That I think, with God’s help, meditation, prayer and most importantly practice, I can do better.
Practice I think is the thing we forget. We must practiceour faith daily to be able to better demonstrate our Love, to better forgive, meditate, live peacefully. We know that we must practice music to play an instrument or yoga to stretch, but with faith we go along until the high seas of life and then…. Oh God! Buddha! we think it should be like magic. Fortunately, if we live long enough and see enough in this world we learn that it takes practice. I say fortunately because in learning this we learn to live better, more peaceful, more fulfilling lives. And then when the tsunamis of life come we are better prepared because we have practiced.
I challenge you this week to love your enemies more, not the big horrible ones yet… Let’s just start with the one who cuts you off in traffic. Can you refrain from the screams and curses and foul hand gestures? Can you pray for them and see that maybe they are late or afraid or just learning to drive.
I challenge you to start a practice of love when the kids have hit the last button, when you think your head may spin like the girl in the Exorcist. Breathe, and practice Love and understanding.
Peace be with you.