You have heard it 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...”
Connection is one of the Leading Causes of Life. We know this both from our everyday experience and scripture. We are connected to our family, our friends, and our communities in a host of different ways. When connections are broken, we know something has gone awry. Our lives are restored when we learn to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our strength and all our soul.
Knowing this, we can't help but ask, “And how do we connect?”
It takes but a moment for us to realize what we must do.
If we are to love, we must learn to forgive, if we are to forgive we must find ways to connect, and if we are to connect it is prayer that both blesses those who persecute us and our efforts to forgive.
From time to time I've wondered, “Who do I need to forgive today?” Every once in a while a name comes to mind and I realize it's time to send a note apologizing for a grudge I've been holding and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes, a name will come to mind but I'll say, “Not yet.” When that happens another voice is needed.
“I want to forgive, but in this case I haven't,” I'll say. “The hurt is too deep. The events that broke us are too sharp.”
Some years ago, a friend heard my story. I expected her to say, “I really understand how difficult it is.” But that is not what she said.
“Listen to yourself!” she said.
I realized I hadn't been asking how to forgive, I had been justifying the thousand and one reasons forgiving was difficult. I was stuck. Having lost sight of connection, I had lost sight of life.
We learn to forgive because it helps us connect. We learn to reconcile because it re-establishes connection. And thanks to the help of friends, and the words Jesus spoke so long ago, we learn to listen to life once again.
Thank you, our merciful and gracious God, for reminding us that enemies are friends with whom we have yet to establish a connection. Bless our notes, our calls, and the conversations that remind us we are all your children. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Copyright ©2008 Larry Pray.