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How can we accept people whose thoughts and actions are antithetical to us?
February 27, 2021
Deuteronomy 26:16–19 | Matthew 5:43–48 | Psalm 119:1–8
Wow, Jesus really cuts to the chase when he tells us to love our enemies in Matthew 5:43-48. Don’t you get the feeling he’s been watching the United States over the past few years, thinking, “Come on, guys, you can do better!”
It’s been challenging. There was an event recently where a politician was caught doing something politically unwise, and after it blew up in the politician’s face, there was a big part of me that thought, “Serves that person right!” I was kind of happy. And then I thought, “Gee, some kind of Christian you turned out to be….”
I read Jesus’s words today and realize, of course, it’s easy to love those who think like us. I wrestle with this – how can we accept people whose thoughts and actions are antithetical to us? Jesus doesn’t say it’s easy, but he does say we need to love our enemies. That doesn’t mean we abandon our beliefs, but it does mean we need to dig deep and find the humanity in everyone we meet. Sometimes, when I struggle with this concept, I picture the person I’m struggling with as a baby, or young child. They look like my own children when they were little. They are children of God just as I am a child of God. When I do that, my defenses come down and my heart opens.
Am I perfect then? Well, no. But I am moving toward the light, and that feels good.
Elizabeth F. McNamara