Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday's Meditation

"You have heard 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 sons of your Father in heaven."
-Jesus, Matthew 5:43-44
"You must not think of them [your enemies] again, except
as monsters like yourself,
pitiable because unforgiving."
- "Enemies," Wendell Berry
How many are our enemies? How many are those who wrong us, who are different from us, who are the boogie man in the closet waiting to harm us in some meaningful way?

Did you notice that Jesus didn't come back to the neighbor? He didn't say, "Pray for your neighbor and your enemy?" Why is that? Could it possibly be that we don't have a "neighbor?" that we are surrounded in a sea of enemies whom we have wronged and are in need of seeking reconciliation? But we won't humble ourselves. We won't turn the other cheek. We won't walk the extra mile. Why? Because we too have been wronged.

There is no doubt, in my mind, that we are all the monsters that Berry speaks of. We harbor our resentments from past wrongs. We withhold the hand of charity and fellowship because so and so isn't living up to God's law - or our own, for that matter.

If we are ever to love our enemies, we must realize that we are no different than those we hate or those who hate us.