“But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on good people and on evil people, and he sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. If you love only the people who love you, you will get no reward. Even the tax collectors do that. And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than other people. Even those who don’t know God are nice to their friends. So you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Matthew 5:44-48 (New Century Version)
I have to admit, I have a really hard time loving my enemies. Who doesn’t, right? When someone does something wrong against us, or does something to hurt us, we want to retaliate. We want to fight back. We throw our fists in the air and cry out to God for justice. But it gets worse! Jesus tells us in the verses preceding this, “But I tell you, don’t stand up against an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also. If someone wants to sue you in court and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. If someone forces you to go with him one mile, go with him two miles. If a person asks you for something, give it to him. Don’t refuse to give to someone who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38-42, NCV)
If you’re at all human, I’m sure you’ve asked (or are asking) yourself, “wait…what?” Not only am I supposed to love my enemies and pray for them, but I’m supposed to stand there and take it while they hurt me or treat me bad or say nasty things to me or take something from me? The answer is: Yes. Yes, we are. Even when it really sucks to do so. I’m reminded of the phrase that became hugely popular while I was in High School – WWJD – What Would Jesus Do. I know for a fact Jesus wouldn’t turn around and pray for justice against someone who did him wrong. I know He wouldn’t fight back against someone who is treating him badly or purposely being nasty to Him. You know why I know this? Because when people turned on Jesus and mocked Him and spat on Him and beat Him and sentenced Him to death…He went willingly to the cross to be crucified. Crucified. What Kevin and I are dealing with right now is seriously small potatoes compared to what Jesus went through, and I’ve been having a hard time getting through it without anger and prayers for smiting and nasty thoughts of how to fight back. It makes me feel like a pretty small person.
So I’ve been praying for my enemies. I’ve been praying for God to soften their hearts and change their lives, and I’ve been praying for the strength to not fight back when I feel I’m being wronged. And you know what? I felt as if a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Not carrying around that anger and rage and frustration has been pretty liberating! I may not yet be at the point of loving my enemies, but I’m praying for that, too. Amen.
My Day Twenty-Two Eats
Breakfast, 0730: I packed an easy breakfast to take to work with me today – a slice of grilled meatloaf and two hard boiled eggs.
Lunch, 1130: Lunch was pretty easy as well. I sliced up a grilled chicken breast and ate it with some guacamole, served with applesauce on the side. I also packed some raw vegetables but didn’t end up eating them.
Dinner, 1800: Dinner was a smorgasbord in our house tonight! I pulled out all the leftovers from the fridge and we went to town – I ended up eating pork ribs with blueberry BBQ sauce and sauteed brussels sprouts from Wednesday night, and Kevin cut up some turkey sage meatloaf into bite sized pieces and ate it covered in Whole30 approved spaghetti sauce. Both meals were equally delicious, and I even packed the last of the meatloaf up for work tomorrow. It’s pretty much like meatballs and sauce, which I love. I took a picture of it but it came out looking like a bowl full of spaghetti sauce, so I’ll spare you that.
Here’s to a great weekend!