Jesus said, “but I tell you who hear me: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Luke 6: 27-29)
I struggle with such words and wonder if I can ever live consistently as Jesus requires in this and in some other passages.
For example, my natural instinct is to hate my enemy rather than love him. (I actually found myself cheering when our SEALS brought justice to the terrorist Osama bin Laden.)
The prevailing wisdom of the world we live in appears to be just the opposite of the things Jesus calls for in the passage above, doesn’t it?
I am reminded that my only real hope of meeting Jesus’ expectations lies in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Human resolve and willpower are not enough. It may be that we must more fully surrender to God, more fully entrust ourselves to Him, and then follow through by doing just what He calls for, even when it doesn’t seem wise in a worldly sense.
Is this what Mother Teresa had in mind when she wrote this?
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
I pray Godspeed for you and for myself as we try to live this way!
THE REV. G. DANIEL MCCALL IS THE MINISTER OF PASTORAL CARE AT FAIRVIEW PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN NORTH AUGUSTA.