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Posts Tagged ‘love enemies’


2 Samuel 16: Adversaries

William Brassey: Hole: David Fleeing Jerusalem is Cursed by Shimei 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

We have journeyed through Christmastide. We have spent time with the magi and their gifts of wisdom, mystery and grace. Today we reflect on one of Jesus’ major messages: Loving our enemies.

Various translations present today’s story with varying titles; yet despite the words, the story of David’s patience, wisdom and forgiveness remains the same. David – who seeks forgiveness from Yahweh himself – understands the importance of mercy. David says that we need to allow our foes to curse us if that is the will of God, for who are we to stand in the way of God’s design?  When Shimei curses him, David says, Let him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. Later, in Chapter 19, Shimei returns to David and repents his cursing.  David forgives him.

What do we learn today? We never know when someone is on his or her conversion path, and to allow someone conversion of heart is correct, just, and God-like.

As we move forward into this new year, we will want to give thought to the benefit, the beauty and the grace we might find in allowing our adversaries to curse us.

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to explore various versions of these verses, we discover the many gifts that come to us when we love our enemies. 

For an in-depth look at today’s story, visit: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/what-about-reconciliation-a-lesson-from-shimei-and-king-david 

Adapted from a reflection written on February 4, 2008.

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Fruits: Living in the Spirit

The Ninth Day of Christmas, January 2, 2018

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gives to me nine ladies dancing.

But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. (Galatians 5:22-23 GNT)

Are we able to think of others before ourselves? Are we willing to love our enemies into goodness? This is the love that Jesus describes.

Are we able to rejoice in our suffering? Do we praise God even in times of stress and turmoil? This is the joy that Jesus describes.

Do we rely on our relationship with God to guide us in all we do? Are we able to settle into the peace of this relationship despite the confusion the world promises? This is the peace that God brings us.

Are we willing to listen more than we speak? Do we wait for God to tell us which way we are to walk and what we are to say? This is the patience Jesus practices.

Do we offer our words gently when we speak truth that is difficult to hear? Are we able to act with compassion no matter the circumstances? This is the kindness that bears fruit in the Spirit.

Are we able to obey Jesus’ call to return good for evil? Are we open to seeing the good that comes out of harm when we allow Christ to lead us?  This is the goodness we see in the Spirit.

Are we willing to abide with those who live on the margins? Do we maintain a steady course without falling to temptation? This is the faithfulness Jesus models for us.

Can we put aside our desire to get ahead and to find comfort at all cost? Do we put our ego aside to allow others to share scare resources? This is the gentleness that flourishes in the Spirit.

Do we work toward consensus? Do we collaborate as we share in decision-making? It is the gentle invitation to others to join us in kingdom-building that exhibits the Spirit’s gift of self-control.

These nine fruits of the Spirit are difficult to practice but they are essential to life in the Spirit; and they are the mark of one who follows Christ. Today we reflect on the presence of these gifts in our daily thoughts and actions.

But what happens when we live God’s way? God brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. (MSG)

When we compare versions of these verses, we begin to see that the fruits of our life in the Spirit are essential to life as a follower of Christ.

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Luke 6:36-38: Our God-Created Identity

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why must we be cautious in judging others?

Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. (GNT)

Who is our model in this difficult challenge?

Show compassion, just as your Father shows compassion. (CJB)

What do we gain by refraining from judging?

I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. (MSG)

Is the promise of union with Christ in his love of enemies enough for us? Does kindness hold the same allure as power, fame and wealth?

As we compare varying versions of Jesus’ words, we continue to consider where we put our concerns and how we act on them; and we reflect on how we live out our God-created identity.

Pierre Subleyras: Christ at the House of Simon the Pharisee

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Judges 16: The Strength of Samson

Reubens: Samson and Delilah

Reubens: Samson and Delilah

February 26, 2015

Then Delilah said to Samson, “How can you say that you love me when you do not confide in me?”

In this often-told Old Testament story we see how words can be used to deceive and conceal. Words of love can manipulate and destroy as well us build up and restore.

So he took her completely into his confidence and told her, “No razor has touched my head, for I have been consecrated to God from my mother’s womb”.

In this well-told Old Testament story we see how trust and betrayal both tug on the body, mind and soul.  Acts of deceit become preludes to acts of greatness when God is central to our lives.

Delilah had Samson sleep in her lap, and called for a man who shaved off his seven locks or hair. Then she began to mistreat him, for his strength had left him.

In this familiar Old Testament story we see how intimacy and revenge are dichotomous sisters in our modern lives. But always, as in this story, malice is superseded by God’s love.

Samson cried out to the Lord and said, “Oh Lord God, remember me! Strengthen me, O God.

In any array of negative emotion we call on God for strength; and so our fear, anger, and desire for revenge become hope, mercy and love.

Jesus reminds us: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

In this often-told Old Testament story we see how words can be used to deceive and conceal. In this often-told New Testament story we see how words of love can build up and restore. As we journey toward the Easter promise, let us reflect on the actions and words of Samson, Delilah and Jesus. Let us determine the source of our strength; and let us determine who we choose to follow and why.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jeremiah 17:14-18

search-me-oh-godThe Day Without Remedy

Jeremiah’s frustration runs high; his disappointment in the social and religious structure is enormous; his passion grows larger than his own life. The prophet cries out in a beautiful and poignant prayer for vengeance.

Heal me, O Lord, that I may be healed; save me, that I may be saved, for it is you whom I praise.

We have followed your precepts and still we suffer. The day of calamity is upon us.

See how they say to me, “Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come to pass!”

No one remembers your loving care; the number of your faithful dwindles.

Yet I did not press you to send calamity; the day without remedy I have not desired.

We have walked in The Way the Christ has shown us and we have turned the other cheek, offered clothes to the naked, fed the poor and housed the homeless.

You know what passed my lips; it is present before you.

We have refrained from gossip; we have spoken of our love for you.

Do not be my ruin, you, my refuge in the day of misfortune.

Abide with us here, remain with us now.

Let my persecutors, not me, be broken.

Bring peace to my enemies; soften the hearts of the stiff-necked.

Bring upon them the day of misfortune, crush them with repeated destruction.

Bring upon my adversaries your serenity that heals shattered hearts, your love that mends broken minds, and your peace that restores fragmented spirits.

Heal us, O Lord, that we may be healed . . .

For in this healing that we find reconciliation . . .

Save us, that we may be saved . . .

For it in this saving that we find eternal peace . . .

It is you whom we praise . . .

It is you alone who brings life that endures all things. It is you alone who brings an end to our days without remedy. Amen.

For more on asking intercession for those who harm us, see the Prayer for Revenge post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/04/23/a-prayer-of-revenge/

Go to the sidebar on the right of the blog page and scroll down to find another Prayer for Revenge based on 1 Samuel 24.

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God’s Love


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

god-faith-and-love-god-28925578-1024-7681 John 4:7-12

God’s Love

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God.

We use the word love easily and perhaps without thinking.

Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

We enact the word love with our gestures and actions more than with our words.

In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only son into the world so that we might have life through him.

We seek God, wisdom, comfort, happiness and we look past the simple fact that we are . . . that we have the capacity to love . . . and that we are loved by our creator. We are an action of God’s love.

In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that God loved us and sent his son as expiation for our sins.

We give ourselves credit for all the good that we do and the goods we possess and we look past the simple fact that we are nothing without first being created by God . . . in and for and to . . . love.

Beloved, if God so loved us we also must love one another.

We easily love our friends, family members and colleagues with whom we see eye to eye and we ignore or even reject those who disagree with us or even do us harm.

No one has ever seen God. Yet if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

We praise ourselves for all that goes well and curse God for all that does not. We go to God in times of distress and forget to include God in our celebrations of joy.

Today, let us commit to including God in every meal, in every meeting, in every chore, and in every relationship. Let us commit to living as if we are in love with God in every gesture, with every word and in every moment and place. And let us remember to thank God for all his gift of expiation . . . for as we are forgiven so must we forgive.  As we are loved . . . so must we love.

Enter the words God’s Love or God’s Love Letter into the blog search bar and reflect on the gift of love that we are freely and generously given.

Tomorrow, this is how we know that we remain in God. 

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

the-letter-sadhe[1]Psalm 119:137-144

Sadhe

I am consumed by rage, because my foes forget your words . . . Your decrees are forever just; give me discernment that I may live.

We become indignant when we believe that others do not understand the message of the Gospel; others become indignant with us when we behave in a narrow way.

God says: I really do understand how anger and frustration might consume you; but I ask that you take this negative energy and hand it to me.  Together we will transform the ugliness and pettiness and cruelty you see in the world . . . to beautiful truth, inspiring authenticity and salvific love.  Together we will bring goodness out of harm.  Together we will build a kingdom so that all might live eternally.

Once we allow ourselves to pardon enemies we experience love as God does.  We find a new tranquility and balance.  And we discover that the evil around us melts into nothingness.  This new serenity begins when we can bring ourselves to love our enemies as Jesus does.

Jesus says: You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy”.  But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly father . . . For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?  Do not the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that?  Do not the pagans do the same? (Matthew 5:43-47)

In this newest lesson presented to us in Psalm 119 we find the greatest – and perhaps the most difficult and certainly the most important – lesson of all.  We find our divinity by fully and completely turning our most basic human instincts over to God.  We find the kingdom that lies before us by interceding for all of.  We find discernment by turning all of our rage into love.  And all of this brings us serenity.

For more on how Sadhe speaks to us of faith that is found in the righteous, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/tzadik.htm

For a quick view of the Hebrew letters, click on the image above and then click through the alphabet to the left, or go to: http://www.heb4you.com/hebrew-alephbet/18th-letter-of-the-hebrew-alphabet.html

Tomorrow, Qoph.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

purity_heart[1]1 Peter 1:22

Mutual Love

Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a [pure] heart.

Peter has led us along The Way with Christ.  He has described our gift and call.  He has explained the benefits of obedience and the look of true reverence.  Today he brings us to the heart of Christ – to mutual love.

God says: I am sometimes saddened by the way you look away when I speak of purity.  When I speak to you of this quality it is not cleanliness and spotlessness that I have in my mind.  This is a kind of perfection that causes you to think of yourself as flawed and imperfect – and these are words I do not use when I think of you.  Rather, the purity I plant in you is one which brings clarity to your world, one which engenders in you a simplicity of mind and purpose. The purity of which I speak does away with complications and convolutions.  You should not find yourself twisted as you aspire to purity for this simplicity of spirit is accompanied by ease and straightforwardness, by openness and directness, by honesty and mutual love.

In Luke’s Gospel we hear these well-known words from Jesus: If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  (Luke 6:32-36)

Let us take a few moments to listen to the words of Peter for he is one who travelled closely and well with Jesus.  He is one who understands the depth and breadth and height of mutual love.

Tomorrow, the imperishable seed of God’s Word.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

1 John 3:16 The way we came to know love was that [Christ] laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 

Jesus tells us that it is easy to love the ones we love; it is difficult to love those who do us harm.  This is one of his most fundamental – and most difficult – lessons for us. 

God says: Believe me when I say that I understand that you do not want to love your enemies; yet this is the fruit I ask you to bear, the harvest I ask you to reap.  When the grain of wheat breaks open to plant something new, it plants my love within a hardened heart.  You become frustrated with the world and yet all of your struggling changes very little.  Plant the seeds I have given you to sow – use the gifts I have given you.  And do not worry about the weeds that grow up with the wheat.  My workers will tend to them in good time.  Do not worry about how much rain must fall and where you will find the harvesters.  I am with you always, offering you my love . . . laying down my life for you. 

Let us take up the gifts we have been given to share.  Let us use God’s gifts lovingly.  And let us offer ourselves as broken grains of wheat in the Spirit.  Let us offer ourselves up to rise again in newness bearing fruit for the master harvester. In this way we come to know Christ’s love.

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