Love Your Enemies…Ugh.

S: “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. Matthew 5:43-44 (MSG)

O: Loving my enemies is not easy. Heck, loving people is not easy – even the ones I like! But You are commanding me to love them all – friend and enemy alike. You always challenge me to keep growing – to keep accepting the invitation to be made more and more like You.

A: Initially, when I would pray for my enemies, I would thank You for putting them in my life to help me grow. How inward focused! But at least it’s a start. And You can work with that – You do work with that! Because You love me, You are always inviting me to grow up in You. (Even when I sometimes act like a spoiled brat – annoyed by others. Sorry about those times, God. Please forgive me when my pride gets in the way, and I too often forget that we are ALL your children – looking for evidence of Your love.)

Every time I turn to You, You give me eyes to see. Eyes to see my own shortcomings and need for You. Oh, how I would be a mess without You, Jesus!

I love Your instruction here in The Message, “respond with energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.” There are MANY things I can’t control, but I can control how I respond. I can CHOOSE to respond with energies of prayer. That frustration, that anger, that hurt – it’s all energy zapping my strength – why not turn it into prayer? I mean, You can do much more with all of it than I can.

And then, in true God-fashion, You use it for the good of all of us.

P: God, help me love like You love. I can’t do it on my own. Quiet my voice and still my tongue in those moments I’m mad at someone else; help me instead to turn my heart around through prayer. Help me to love them because they are only people, just like me. All of us trying to find our way to You, Jesus.

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