“But I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”
This verse from Matthew 5 undoubtedly causes most of us a near visceral reaction. Western mentality is consumed by a recoiling response that pushes most of us to treat others in the same way they treat us. If someone treats us with respect, then we are willing to give them that same respect. If someone gives us a gift, then we are likely to reciprocate. But if we are crossed, then all bets are off. This same vein of an eye for an eye is rampant in our society. But what if we are called to do more? What would happen if we could look past our own hurts to something greater?
Several weeks ago, Tita sent an email to three friends who are a part of a prayer group in Guatemala City, requesting prayers for funds to continue the carpentry workshop and for the men and boys involved. One of the recipients of the email, replied to Tita, saying that her and her three children had decided to support several of the men in the workshop so they could continue the work. The miracle here is that this woman and her family had been the victims of gang violence several times. They were repeatedly robbed, threatened, and finally forced to move to a different home. Responding with the same hatred to any gang member would seem normal, almost justifiable considering their past plights.
But she answered a higher call. She gave up her “right” to anger and retaliation, and responded instead with love.
Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…