Mother Teresa wrote, “To be able to love one another, we must pray much, for prayer gives a clean heart and a clean heart can see God in our neighbor. If now we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten how to see God in one another.”
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:10
Do you have enemies? Who are they and why have they been given that distinction? Could it be because they have spoken about you with ill will, hurt one of your family members, threw you under the bus at work or purposely ignored you in public? How have you handled their unkind words, misunderstandings and lies in the past?
What would happen if we followed Jesus more closely and emulated his prayer to his Father as he was hanging on the Cross, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they are doing.” Have you considered forgiving those who are the hardest to forgive as a sacrifice; a sacrifice of suffering? Jesus asks us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Wow! This can be a real challenge. I remember my brother wondering why a coworker didn’t like him. He was amazed and said, “But how could he not like me?” LOL! I think we have all asked ourselves this question and wondered why someone would think this way? Absent of compassion, we may think of them as enemies and at times consider doing to them what they have done to us.
Merciful forgiveness is the mercy we seek, and the mercy we show to others and they are inseparable. God says that we will be his sons and daughters if we forgive one another. What happens though if we don’t? God’s mercy will not reach our hearts. Forgiveness is to love like God loves. Sometimes this is not easy. Loving like this can be so painful! We do not need to FEEL forgiveness, remembering “To err is human and to forgive is divine”. We need to pray as Jesus did on the cross since prayer leads to the first step of forgiveness. Mother Teresa wrote, “To be able to love one another, we must pray much, for prayer gives a clean heart and a clean heart can see God in our neighbor. If now we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten how to see God in one another.” Love is God in action!
“For God so loved the world, He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Let’s take time this week to try to be as generous as God is generous, and to pray to God to help us to forgive our enemies.