“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I imagine that some people see me as an enemy.
I’ve hurt people. I’ve been a bully. I’ve broken hearts. I have the capacity to use people. I’ve robbed people of joy, I’ve dashed hopes, and I’ve caused people to question the sincerity of my love. I’ve asked for forgiveness and trust in God’s mercy, but still…
Jesus demands that we love those who have caused us pain. It can feel like an impossible task.
I wonder though, whether his commandment to love our enemies comes easier when I remember how desperately I need to be loved – even by those people who have good reason not to love me anymore.
It’s brave to ask for love, and everyone asks somehow. I can choose to love my enemies, because just like me, they deserve it too.
Jesus, Prince of Peace,
you have asked us to love our enemies
and pray for those who persecute us.
We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
With the help of the Holy Spirit,
may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.
To you be glory and honor for ever and ever.
—Prayer for our Enemies, from the USCCB website