You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45
What a great way to begin a week--a reminder that it is possible to love no matter what. Recently, someone said and did something that caused a great deal of sadness in my life, and my first reaction was to turn and walk away from them. I thought, "I don't need this. I have enough stress in my life." Sound familiar? I don't know why, but it seems that the first human response to pain is withdrawal, and Jesus says, "Don't do it!" He tells us to turn toward people in our moments of pain and disillusionment--not away from them. And even more than that, we are to show them kindness, patience and love because this is how God treats us.
I thought long and hard about this in a difficult situation, and finally chose to forgive this person and treat them with kindness. I don't think it's possible to do this without the power of the Holy Spirit and even with His help it wasn't easy, and it certainly wasn't a quick decision--but I'm glad I did.
One last thing--love is not synonymous with doormat. Evil is still evil and accountability remains a biblical requirement . . . but what a sense of freedom to know it is possible to love no matter what.