The last two readings taken from the Sermon on the Mount deal with love of enemies. We should not look at “an eye for an eye” as an inordinately strict punishment. It actually meant to limit acts of revenge by making sure the punishment is not excessive but fits the crime. However, Jesus asks his followers to take a different approach by resisting retaliation altogether. If we are honest this is very difficult at times to do, and that is why it is so important to reconcile with one another. Take a moment to think about times when you have said some things that you really wished had not come out of your mouth, or even been part of your thoughts. At times, it is quite obvious that decisions are motivated by greed or fear. Racism, ageism, sexism, and those other attitudes of intolerance towards immigrants may by subtle or blatant. Whether in our own homes or across the globe, we have many opportunities each day to forget who we are. In this world of mass media, we are consumed daily with news reports that keep putting one human being against another. If we are not mindful we can develop an attitude of “forgetting” who God is and our knowledge of how God acts in our world.
Psalm 85 is one of my favorite psalms as it gives you’re the blue print for forgiveness, peace, and justice. A dear friend of mine used to end each of his letters and documents with a paraphrase of the psalm, “Kindness and truth shall meet, and justice and peace shall embrace.” Take some time this week to reflect on this psalm or even the psalm in today’s readying. Psalm 103: 1-4, 8,10, 12-13 “Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and bounding in kindness.” Then ask yourself these two questions: “Who have you show kindness and mercy to? Who has been kind and merciful to you? There is the kingdom of God.
February is Black History Month, and in honor of the hundreds of African Americans who have contributed to making our country a better place, I would like to offer words of love from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his reflection, I Have Decided to Stick With Love. “I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood and sisterhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence, you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put our darkness; only light can do that.”
“And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to humankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong demanding love. For I have seen too much hate […] and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we aren’t moving wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who loves has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.” The entire document can be found on the awakin.org website. Ask yourself this question, how can I show love for someone who is opposed to me in some way?