by Br. Michael, ofm
“Love your enemies.” – Luke 6.27
Love my enemies?
Love those who are my adversaries and foes?
You must have known that it is much easier to love a friend.
Love my enemies?
They must not have heard you well on the day you said that.
Yet when you invite me to love my enemies, you invite me not to judge and not to dictate my moral stance, rather you invite me to be merciful and love even with a small glimpse of your divine love. This is not easy to do, for it challenges me first to reflect on my own living and shortcomings, realizing that I am not God. It means that at times I must see that I am my own worst enemy failing to love well because I defend my enemy lines. Lines that I create and take a hard stance on claiming they are of you and for you. Yet you show me they are not, and you ask me to surrender my false judgments of myself so that I don’t project defending and guarding all that is mine onto others and cause them to build up their enemy lines. Instead, you ask me to be compassionate, kind, and merciful even if it is not returned for you promise me that, “your reward will be great in heaven” (Luke 6.23). This is not easy to do, for I want instant results and proof, but your love is deeper, wider, broader (Ephesians 3.18), and better than instant anything the world offers.
In a world obsessed with drawing lines, defining who belongs and who doesn’t, who our enemies are, and what they want from us, you invite me to a true way of being. You invite me to be a blessing of mercy and show forth the depth and gentleness of your generous love. Something our world struggles with because we struggle with power instead of outdoing one another with love, compassion, gentleness, and mercy (Romans 12.9-18). Jesus, I know I must rise above the noise for you speak the truth for the way which leads to life.
God of both friends and enemies,
help me to love like you
with mercy beyond knowing,
with compassion which
tears down enemy lines,
and restores relationships.
Help me also to see
the enemy lines
which must be torn down
within my own life
and fill me with your courage
to do so.
Photo Credits: Andre Hunter, Jon Tyson