Monday, September 19, 2016

Why our Neighbor Includes our Enemies, too

Luke 6:35-36 (NRSV): Loving the Other
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

In his sermon on the plain, Jesus extends the traditional teaching of Leviticus 19:18 to go beyond loving just “[our] people” as our neighbor to loving all people, even our enemies.

Throughout our country there is a xenophobic attitude toward the other -- immigrants, refugees, the poor, people struggling with identity, and people of other faiths. Christ calls us to love everyone, especially those we are tempted to (or feel justified to) hate, giving to them without expecting a return. And on top of this, we are to pray for them while exercising mercy and kindness: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (36) . These are demanding words, words that call us to renewal and prayer. No one ever said discipleship is easy.

I pray that as we encounter our neighbor this week, we look on all people equally, with mercy, kindness, self-giving, prayer, and hope.

Have a blessed week.