“Eliminate Your Enemies” ..by Loving Them
©2014 James Dacey, Jr. OFS
A little biblical reflection here, do you know what the Old Testament said about how we are to respond to our enemies? Well let's see what it says, what to do if we are hurt by them, "But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." Exodus 21:23-25, pretty serious response don't you think? The Old Testament didn't back down on responding to evil with evil. God's mercy is found in the Old Testament, but let's look at another strong verse responding to one who is guilty, "The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." Deuteronomy 19:18-21. It is a little scary how fierce of a response was encouraged in the Old Testament. But Jesus changed all this in the New Testament.
Now that we have seen the evil for evil response in the Old Testament, let us look for the mercy we also find in the Old Testament. "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:18. See now how even the Old Testament teaches us to love our neighbor. God wants us to be sisters and brothers to one another. In doing that, and having that mindset, we do not do anything to harm one another. And in that relationship, brothers and sisters always give each other a "pass" and they forgive and forget and move on. But again, this is so difficult when it is really happening to you and most especially when it is hitting super close to home. The best way to handle it, at least for me, is to pray for your enemies as you and I have identified them to be. These are people who step their way into your life, your family and your business without you’re ok, they are unwelcome intruders. These are people who in the end ultimately destroy your family. This is difficult indeed. When others from the outside stick their nose into your life, we can only do our best to be like Jesus; by living and breathing and doing all we can to follow Jesus' example.
Just guessing, but I think many of you sense that this is personal. You are right in thinking that, but also know that in the fire and smoke of all this craziness and intrusion of privacy; I pray for my enemies and those seeking to separate us. I really do. If I didn't I know for a fact that I would go crazy. It is through my Lord and our Blessed Mother, that I find peace and comfort. You see it's God's grace that has comforted my angry hurt and wounded heart through the years. And in that grace I am able to find forgiveness and love for the unlovable. What exactly is this "grace" I am speaking about? You ask. It's the grace to love and treat those who very well don't deserve it, with kindness, love and mercy. And by God's strength inside our hearts we are able to do just that. Consider this, "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5. And I will end with this scripture and thought, "so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." verse 46 in today's gospel. We are all God's children, and as His children, let us only continue to make peace between one another, no matter how difficult it will be. Pray every day and it will get much easier.
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And His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS