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Saturday, March 3, 2007

Matthew 5:45, 48
Jesus says, "Your father causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous ... Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect."

By this Jesus means, among other things, for me to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. With no exceptions. Martin Luther King, Jr. modeled this behavior, as did Mohatma Gandhi. They are famous for it.

I avoid making enemies, but it happens. Misunderstanding ferments and becomes too-long-standing resentment. Words are forced and wooden. All the important stuff remains unsaid. Trust disappears.

The worst kind of enemy is the one who was once my friend, my lover, my partner, my intimate. We are both burdened with the consequences of unfairness, betrayal, unrighteousness, and blame. Weighed down, we don't fly. We don't climb. We lie down in the pit and want to die.

One look at the face of my enemy and the words are out before I can stop them: "How can I hurt you?" I want to ask, "How can I help you?" but I'm confused and angry and hurt myself.

When I lie down to sleep I can choose to notice that the day once again is followed by night. And I fully expect the next morning to follow as well. There will be rain, and sun, and the crops will grow and God will thereby give me food to eat. Give us food to eat. All of us. My enemy and me, we both have to eat. God won't let us down. He loves us. And if there isn't much, then we'll share.

Getting God's perspective lets me think like this. Praying for my enemy makes me more open to God's point of view. I force out the words, and my little trickle of grace grows and grows.

Thank you, Lord, for refusing to accept bitterness. Thank you for showing me how to change. Thank you for believing in me.

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