Luke 6: 27-38
“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticise their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
The Gospel for today is a difficult one to hear. It is even more difficult to live out in our day to day lives. Today Jesus says to his followers, to us: “Love your enemies! Be kind, be good to those who hate or persecute you!” What is your instinctual response to Jesus’ words?
These words of Jesus are very familiar to us. We have heard these words numerous times. I assume that all of us at some point in our lives have struggled to “love our enemies.” At times we may have been able to do that but I assume that there have been times when it was impossible! The wound was too deep, too raw!
Perhaps the first step might be to ask for the desire and will to eventually forgive the other person. Forgiveness most often is a process. It may be a long process and taking this first step to even consider forgiveness may be all we can do. Jesus is asking us to take one step. We can determine what that step will be! Let us ask Jesus to give us the will and desire to forgive—eventually!