Jesus said to his disciples: “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, that you may be children of your heavenly Father…Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Be different as your heavenly Father is different. No one will deny that these words, spoken by our Lord, are difficult to comprehend and even more so to live. But by His words and actions, the Lord intrigues us, stirs our hearts and challenges us to get behind him and follow him, not only with just our words and understanding, but with our actions and lack of understanding as well.
Yes, faith and reason go together, but when push comes to shove, faith outweighs and outmaneuvers reason.
Just like Him, the Lord invites us to be out of this world; that is, to be different from the rest of the world and to be born from above.
If you love those who love you, do not the pagans do the same? Why be a Christian? Answer: to be different, radically different from so many others.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’. This wasn’t just said in the Old Testament. No, these words were said centuries prior to the Old Testament! This wasn’t a code of conduct lived only by the Jews. This was lived by everyone! And it still is today, even more so today.
What do you do with your enemies? You harm them and if necessary, you kill them. What do you do with those who harm you? You harm them back. You fight back. You don’t let them get back up. When do you strike? The best time is when they are at their weakest moment. You kick the dog while it’s on the ground! This is basic, 101, military tactics! And this is exactly what all the newspapers and media outlets and talk shows do. This is what we do as well! We bombard the airways, hit the printing presses and fill the internet with shocking news of those who have screwed up. The bigger the fish, the bigger the frying pan!
Of course we only do this to those we do not like. To those we like, we don’t forgive them; we just simply ignore or forget what they did. How convenient. How typical. How pagan!
Not so with Christ. The Lord never mocked the sinner. The Church does not mock the sinner. The Pope does not mock those who mock him. Examine for a moment what happens in the confessional. In a quiet place, in a discrete place, the sinner comes and asks for forgiveness. Only the priest hears the penitent’s sins. Only the penitent knows their penance. Everything is done in secret. Everything is done to minimize the embarrassment and pain of the sinner’s folly.
Love your enemies and pray for those who harm you. "The Christian does not think that God will love him because he is good, but that God will make him good because He loves him" (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis). Isn't this our experience? Isn't this our experience with the Lord in the Confessional and with His Cross? Hence, this should be our witness to others, for what the Lord has done for me, I must do to others.
Of course we all struggle to live up to the Lord’s words. And while some people have decided to solve this problem by ignoring the Lord’s words entirely (that’s one way to live “without sinning”); others have decided to strive to live up to the Lord’s commandments. How? Well, if in the military the best time to attack your enemy is at their weakest moment, then maybe it's also the best time for a Christian to strike as well, and strike hard, but in an entirely different way: with love, a love that is utterly shocking and surprising; a love that shocks the “hell” out of the person.
Resolution: I will shock the hell out of my enemy. I will love them in a radical way.