You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hateyour enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those whopersecute you. —Matthew 5:43-44
In a period of such political, economic, and racial divisiveness, there are plenty of opportunities to practice Jesus’ teaching. Some people might easily be able to name individuals or groups they feel hatred toward, in which case, Jesus’ words are clear. Jesus calls them to love and pray for those they hate, even if it means treating them lovingly and praying for them before they feel a sense of love for them. On the other hand, many of us can name individuals or groups we wouldn’t necessarily label as “enemies” but with whom we have deep disagreements and can’t seem to get along with or understand their points of view. Just because we don’t have anyone we would label as “enemies” doesn’t let us off the hook in loving and praying for those people, whether they are on the other side of the political spectrum, a member of another race or ethnicity, or a different gender or sexual identity than us.
Who in our lives are we finding it hard to love and pray for these days? Ask God for the desire to have the desire to begin praying for them, no matter how much you may resist it now.