Josh j Smith

Lent, Monday, 3/21 : Loving Enemies
March 21, 2011, 4:10 pm
Filed under: religion | Tags: , ,

44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5.44-45

“Prayer allows us to lead into the center of our hearts not only those who love us but also those who hate us.  This is possible only when we are willing to make our enemies part of ourselves and thus convert them first of all in our own hearts.” (Henri Nouwen Show Me the Way, pp47).

This reminds me of the Jonah story.  God called Jonah to be an agent in helping rescue the Ninevites.  But Jonah ran.  Yes he fulfilled God’s call, and the Ninevites repented.  But he was angry that God rescued the Ninevites.  He said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a) gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.  Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.“

Jonah hated these people so much he did not desire their salvation.  He was so driven by hatred and bitterness he was suicidal at the thought these people living, or that he might have to spend eternity with them.

Is there a person?  Is there a group, race, or type of people that would make us cringe at the thought of God rescuing them and blessing them?

Our Prayer

O Lord, look with favor on us, your people,

And impart your love to us –

Not as an idea or concept,

But as a lived experience.

We can love each other

Only because you have loved us first.

Let us know that first love

So that we can see all human love

As a reflection of a greater love,

A love without conditions and limitations.

Amen. – Henri Nouwen


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