But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matthew 5:44 NRSV
Yesterday we looked at what is and what it is not. Today we look at one way -- a difficult one to be sure -- of putting that love into action by loving our enemies. I propose where we often go wrong here is in our interpretation of the word enemy. Thankfully, most of us do not have people who are openly hostile towards us. Not to say it never happens, but more likely, it’s folks that someway stand in opposition to our thoughts and ideas—creating within us fear and a sense of persecution. This is neither right nor wrong, merely a state of normal human response. Notice, Christ does not say we won’t have enemies -- he certainly did -- just that we need to love them. We also need to remember as humans; we are not blameless. To others, we are the enemy.
Hopefully, we can now look at who our enemies are from a broader perspective. Jesus says, not only are we to love our enemies, but we need to pray for them. Wait a minute! You mean I need to pray for those people whom I feel threatening? Yep, afraid so. Wow, my prayer list certainly got a lot longer. Well, yes and no, first is the awareness of our enemies, but God doesn’t need to hear us recite the laundry list of names. In the exemplary prayer, Jesus taught it is cover quite nicely in one sentence, “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.