Lenten Reflections

Reflections on Matthew 5:43-45

“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 the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43-45)

The first place I go is “He who is without sin, cast the first stone” followed by “Look yourself in the mirror”…What is it about those we hate, or have disagreements with that is actually a reflection of some of our own weaknesses? And, “Walk a mile in my shoes…” Before we pass judgement, seek to listen and understand where the other person might be coming from. What are the person’s intentions? In what areas are we in agreement with those intentions? Can we focus on common intentions and agreements to lessen the chasm created by those with whom we disagree? (While this is how I believe we should approach disagreements, I still have a visceral reaction every time I hear Trump’s voice…pause, breathe and pray for understanding and a way forward!  (Pam Claassen)

Loving your enemy doesn’t require a leap of faith, but rather a growth of faith. It is where you combine compassion with humility, mercy and love. Add to this forgiveness, which needs to be given on both sides. 

Growth because it requires letting go of prejudices and be willing to see the problem from the other side. Once you put yourself in their shoes, the view is quite different. 

Humility is needed because you often see your role in either starting the problem or increasing the hostility. 

Mercy because each side needs it. 

Love is needed because it is the heart of compassion. 

Forgiveness is needed to let go of enmity without releasing either side from facing the consequences of their actions. Truth and reconciliation may lead to lesser consequences. Mercy and forgiveness . That is another aspect of love.   (Jesus Portillo)