Sunday, February 20, 2011

Loving Our Enemies

"But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust." - Matthew 5:44-45
Love your enemies. This is such a hard thing to do. So very hard.  But what really touches me is verse 45 - he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good...
We are always tempted to think that we can earn our way into heaven. OR that God loves us best because we are Catholic or we never committed a crime or... whatever.
God is not about crime and punishment, an eye for an eye, tit for tat.
God loves all of us, every single last one of us. 
God loves people we do not consider very lovable. Which means that God loves us even when WE are not very lovable.
Thank goodness.
Lord, I love you with all my heart. Help me to love those who are unlovable. Help me to love my enemies. And please, God, help me to learn to love myself. Amen.
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14 comments :

Karinann said...

I always find this part of the Sermon on the Mount the hardest to listen to, but you have made some good points to reflect on~ especially in your prayer. Learning to love ourselves~ I think sometimes we are our own worst enemies. The more we learn to love ourselves the more we can allow God's love for us transform us.
Thanks for another insightful reflection, Colleen.
Hugs & Blessings!

Colleen said...

Karinann, I discovered this in my healing journey from my childhood. I did not love myself even a little bit. As I began to really experience God's love for me, I began to love myself better. As I loved myself better, I loved others better.
It is like you said so well - we can be transformed if we let God in our hearts.
Thank you! Hugs and blessings!

evanscove said...

Recently I watched a story on TV about a Christian who was imprisoned in Iran for being a missionary. He was beaten and interrogated quite a lot, but he prayed for God to help him love his persecutors with the same love that God felt for them. And the Lord granted him that, which enabled him to have compassion for and eventually befriend the prison guards who had been mistreating him. It was an extremely touching story.

Forgiving our enemies is definitely not easy. In fact, I think that in most cases it takes God's grace at work in us.

And you're probably right that by learning to love and forgive ourselves we become more loving and forgiving toward others. The late Fred Rogers (of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood") remarked that people who tend to judge and criticize others are usually that way because they tend to judge and criticize themselves a great deal. He was probably right!

God bless.

Evan

Tracy said...

Colleen, our Priest talked about just this in his homily, it is one that is so hard for me, especially when a family member is the one that is causing you the pain, trying to forgive and love them is proving to be so difficult, yet I know that I must, even though they want nothing to do with me anymore, I need to find a way to truly forgive them and let God heal these hurts.. just very difficult.

Colleen said...

Evan, I think you are right on! Fred Rogers was, too. And I think that people who were criticized a lot by parents probably become critical as well.
I also agree that we need God's grace in order to forgive those who are hardest to forgive. I could not have forgiven my father without grace. Realizing that God loves my father helped me. But I find I need to keep forgiving him.

Colleen said...

Oh Tracy, I know how you feel. It has taken me years to forgive my father, by the grace of God. Sometimes it is a process, especially for those forever kind of hurts. But it is soooo hard. I will pray for you.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

Forgiveness is so difficult, especially when the wrongs are severe. My blog post today was also about forgiveness with quotes from Father Lovasik's book "Kindness" - great spiritual direction. We just have to keep working at this all our lives.

Colleen said...

Thanks, Barb. I so agree. We do have to keep working at it. I am going to go look at your post.

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

Our pastor gave us a beautiful mental image this past Sunday.
He asked us to think of the shape of the Cross (as it is normally portrayed in our churches)...He suggested that the long, center and vertical part of the Cross is our love going straight up to God...and that the horizontal, cross-ways part of the Cross is our love for others...stretching out, like arms.
The parts of the Cross intersect as does our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ (including ourselves, as we are our own 'brother') and our love for Our Father in heaven.
No matter how long you might think the journey has been for you to forgive your father...if it took one day or 30 years...it is truly an amazing GRACE that the God who LOVES you so much has given...I admire you, so.

Colleen said...

Judy, thank you for sharing that image of the cross. How beautiful!!
Thank you for your comment about my forgiving my father. You are right - it is all because of GRACE from God.
I think we belong to a mutual admiration society, as I admire you as well. Thank you. Your words touched me.

Mary said...

Thanks for including this in your Sunday's Snippets post. I really, really need this right now.

Colleen said...

Mary, I am so glad to know that you found something here that you needed. God is good! God bless!

Debi said...

So very true...especially your prayer at the end!!

Colleen said...

Debi, thank you! I appreciate your visit and your kind comment! God bless!