Jesus: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

 

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

– Matthew 5:43-48, The New Testament (NIV).

This came to me again following some recent events in the media.

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

This is what most of us have learned from our family, friends and culture. We have taken it on as a habit.

As I shift into intending to find love for my enemies, and as I pray for those who persecute me, I may notice the more of particulars of what I have learned and taken on. I may notice the fears that come up if I don’t hate my enemies. I have an opportunity to identify and inquire into beliefs of why I should hate my enemies, what will happen if I don’t, that someone is or can be my enemy, and labels such as hate, enemy and persecution.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

This is what happens naturally when there is more clarity, and a living more from the heart. It’s also a medicine or antidote to our habitual pattern of seeing something or someone as an enemy. It’s an invitation for exploration, to see what happens when I try it on. And it’s an invitation to see if it’s already this way for me, and that I just haven’t noticed.

As I try this as medicine, exploration, or inquiry, there is a closer alignment with what I really am. It’s easier to notice that I am a “child” of “my father” which is clarity, love, presence, and that we are not two.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 

God’s presence and love is there for all of us, and it is who we really are.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  

Again, an invitation to go beyond what’s familiar to us. What happens if I find love for the person who is here – in my life, in my mind – no matter what my thoughts tell me about that person? What happens if I find love for what’s here – whether it’s a situation, an emotion, an image, pain, identification – no matter what thoughts tell me about it?

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

And again, an invitation to notice what I really am. What’s here when there is more clarity on my thoughts about the other person? Is it true love is not here? Is it true it’s other than what I am?

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