Main readings: Genesis 45.3-11, 15; Ps 37.1-11, 40; 1 Corinthians 15.35-50; Luke 6.27-38
Supplementary readings: Ps 71.1-16; Luke 5.36; Genesis 45.16-26; Ps 37.23-35; Galatians 4.12-20
“But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6.27- 29)
During the U.S. Civil War, where hatred became entrenched between North and South, Abraham Lincoln was criticised for speaking of benevolent treatment of the Confederate prisoners. He was reminded that the Confederates were the enemy, and they should be destroyed. But Lincoln responded, “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” Lincoln’s insightful comment in many ways reflects Jesus’ teaching on the “Law of Love” (Luke 6. 26, 28, 29).
Forgiving our enemies is a challenging commandment. Jesus doesn’t suggest that this is an easy option, but rather a radical alternative. We all have hurts from the past; however, nursing grudges, harbouring resentments and clinging to wrongs others have done burdens, diminishes and weakens us.
In practice, God-like compassion requires that we let go of past hurts, examine our tenaciously held opinions, and try to see the world from the perspective of those we tend to mistrust. Then we can look at forgiveness as strength, as liberation and as grace. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative; there’s something about hate that tears down and is destructive.
We are called to let loose the healing grace of the Creator’s exuberant love upon the world by letting the life and love of God flow through us, those in whom God’s future transforms the present.
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