“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” (Luke 6:32-33)
What makes a Christian different from any other human being on earth? Jesus Christ says: ‘Love your enemies.’ You are not better than any sinner if you only love those who love you. “How can I love someone who has really hurt me so bad and caused me so much pain?” Firstly, try to see something good in the person. Deliberately lookout for the good sides of that person, try to recall the good things he or she did for you in the past.
Secondly, take the position of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary who begged God to forgive his killers because they did not know what they were doing. In today’s first reading, St. Paul says: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and … forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:12-13).
Thirdly, some spiritual writers have spoken of the need to offer or sacrifice our pains to God in exchange for God’s blessings and favours. This simple practice helps to bring calmness of spirit.
Fourthly, as St. Paul says, we should put on ‘compassion’ meaning, we should “suffer-with” our enemies. Don’t assume they are better off than you. No, they are also suffering from guilt. Too often they give you a distance out of fear.
Fifthly, St. Paul mentions, ‘Kindness’ which means going out of our way to do something good for the very persons who have hurt us. The book of Proverbs corroborates this fact when it says: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” (Proverbs 25:21-22).
Sixthly, St. Paul mentions ‘Lowliness’ which is the ability to listen to others and see things from their own point of view. This is closely followed by ‘Meekness’ and ‘Patience’; hoping that he/she can change for good. Jesus in today’s Gospel says: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37).
Seventhly, Be thankful. St. Paul says “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15). An ungrateful heart is always judgmental, angry, keeps record of evils, never forgives, expects the worst of people, seeks revenge and is never at peace.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to forgive and love my neighbours as myself. Amen.
Bible Study: Colossians 3:12-17, Psalm 150 Luke 6:27-38).