Hate or Genuine Love? What's Your Verdict? The Helpless Heroes and the Vindictive Prideful, Part 13

Old prison in Philadelphia

"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. This is what God does. He gives his best-the sun to warm and the rain to nourish-to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that." Matthew 5:43-46 (MSG)

The religious think only about themselves. The ones who are like them are accepted like heroes. Anyone else is scum. Most of us have encountered some of them, and somehow, each encounter leaves us deflated.

How different our Heavenly Father is. Last time we discovered that Jesus never condemned. He loves us genuinely, no matter what we have done in the past. Now to us, it is quite easy to love the loveable, but it's way easier to hate those who hurt us. But when we live with such an attitude, we are no better than the religious.

Jesus, by contrast, loves everyone. He would have died on the cross just for the Pharisees and Sadducees, his arch enemies.

Now we stand pondering: just how do I love my enemies? Is it worth it? Imagine reaching out to them to help them. Instead of hating them, we could let them bring out the best in us, not the worst!

How is that possible?

By letting Jesus live within us through His Holy Spirit: "Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." Romans 8:14 (NIV) These "sons of God" are the ones who love genuinely. Instead of grumbling at the adversity of our enemies, they respond with the energies of prayer. This is when we become our true selves. Our enemies will be amazed that we don't retaliate. Our love will attract them!

Tomas Borge used to be a leader that opposed the totalitarian regime in Nicaragua. One day during the revolution, he was captured and found himself in prison. He was tortured mercilessly for more than 500 hours, experiencing the worst torture methods that exist in this world!

How would we feel towards our enemies in his shoes?

When he was released after the revolution, Tomas became the Minister of the Interior. While visiting a jail, he recognized one of his torturers. He went straight to him and said: "I am going to get my revenge on you." The prisoner was quite surprised when Tomas held out his hand and said: "This is my revenge, I forgive you."

Tomas lived with the promise of "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."

Will we, too, follow in the steps of forgiveness?

Hate or genuine love: what is your verdict?

Rob Chaffart

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