From Sunday’s Gospel according to Luke:
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
This gospel passage is one of the most challenging ones we hear: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; turn the other cheek; give to those who take.
Is Jesus telling us to be doormats? In our culture today, that would seem to be how this passage might be interpreted.
Jesus is calling us to be different; not to react as the world expects, but as God would react. After all, to do so means that “you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”
Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. This is quite a tall order, perhaps impossible. However, we do not do it alone; God’s grace is with us. And “With God all things are possible.”
This seems like a good time to share a poem reportedly inscribed on the wall of Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta, written by Kent M. Keith:
Love Them Anyway
People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People need help, but may attack you if you try to help them.
Help them anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.