Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. “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, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The Gospel of allowing others to walk all over us is a tough one to ponder and act upon. I mean, loving our enemies just doesn’t seem “natural”, right? Actually, loving our enemies is how we were Designed by God. We were naturally-born to Love, but the world gets in the way of the Way (and the Truth and the Life – John 14:6). While hanging on a cross, Jesus asked His Father to forgive His executioners and the angry mob that jeered Him (Luke 23:34). St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr after Jesus, cried out in a loud voice during his execution, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60) Jesus and St. Stephen kept their focus on God and, by so doing, they were able to love their enemies right up to their deaths. There was a poem titled “Do It Anyway” that was found hanging on the wall in Mother Teresa’s room in Calcutta, India. It is a sobering reminder of God’s Call for us to Love (see below). Let us do our best always to stay as focused as we can on God. In the end, it’s all about God.
- People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
- If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
- If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies; Succeed anyway.
- If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you; Be honest and sincere anyway.
- What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight; Create anyway.
- If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
- The good you do today, will often be forgotten; Do good anyway.
- Give the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give your best anyway.
- In the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.