Grace for Enemies

Hello again, friendly readers!

I was whipping up lunch for the smalls, when it occurred to me that it is past noon on Monday. For some reason the blog had completely slipped my mind this morning. However it made me excited to realize that I get to write today, despite having forgotten to even think about what to say.

This is the week my winter break ends. Up until now, I’ve been able to use, “I’m on break!” as a valid excuse for everything from watching tv late at night to eating candy left over from Christmas on top of ice cream on top of marshmallows. My habits have not been necessarily desirable. Currently I’m not sure if I’m excited about school starting again or dreading it. It hasn’t fully started and I already have homework assignments up online. Good times. I think this year I’ll just beat the punching bag at the gym to a pulp as a stress reliever when needed.

Enough with school. Let’s talk about love!

Last week I taught the middle school class at our church, as usual. And, like always, I learned a little myself. The lesson was on loving our enemies. But how on earth can I teach anyone to love their enemies if I have such a hard time loving mine? I don’t even have enemies! Just people who are acquaintances that I’d rather not love. Then there’s the question- how do I love someone that I cannot talk to? Someone who’s not a part of my life, that I’d rather hold a grudge against? Or someone who doesn’t want to talk to me?

I use language as a way to love people. My words say what I don’t really know how to put into action. They say actions speak louder than words, but sometimes I don’t know what to do, so instead I talk. Or I listen. If that fails, I hug, I cry, I choose to act. Maybe make coffee, or help in whatever way I can. But when someone is away from you, none of those things are an option. The ways in which I normally love someone are not present. Which leaves me with a choice. Somehow welcome them back into my life, or… what? Some relationships end. Friendships end, some families separate, people can break up. So what then? How do you love someone who’s hurt you if it is not God’s will that you love them in person?

The answer I got was prayer. So simple, and I knew it before I even asked. But sometimes I think there’s got to be more to it. It can’t be that simple! Over-complicating things is one of humanity’s greatest messes.

There are so many ways that I try to love people, as I mentioned before. But let you and me and all of us never forget to pray. Of course, the greatest love is to lay down our lives for our friends. We need to strive for reconciliation, and unity with the Church. But we must also pray. When we pray, we are choosing to trust God with the people around us. It is central to our love, because to pray for their reconciliation, to pray for their hearts, healing, life, health, or anything at all is to acknowledge that as far as we can go in love, He can go farther. Only He can fully heal and give us the ability to love.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

Luke 6:27-28

This passage is speaking about loving our enemies, and there is a progression. Do good, bless, pray. This progression lines up with the offenses: hatred, cursing, and abuse. There is a sort of backing up that occurs on the side of the defense, and a continued turning towards God to love. Do good, bless, and when you’re at your lowest, dealing with the abuse of someone you don’t even want to look at, pray for them. We are called to give grace to the very end through love.

give grace,

Linds

 

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