Reflection: Loving Enemies

Here’s a reflection and prayer about loving our enemies (Matthew 5: 43-48, Luke 6:27-38) from Susan Mark Landis.

Enemies aren't lovable (by definition)

Lord, the hardest thing you asked
Was that we love our enemies. (Matthew 5:44)

We know how we'd like to love them:
We'd love our enemies to be far away.
We'd love them not to compromise our security.
We'd love them not to scare us or change the way we live.
We'd love them to be lovable.

You know, God,
We'd love it to be popular to love enemies.
We'd love our neighbors to respect us for this good deed.
We'd love the people on the news to provide examples of how to love.

But then, if loving enemies were easy,
Jesus wouldn't have told us about the tax collectors and gentiles,
Who love only their friends. (Matthew 5:46-47)
If loving enemies were easy, we know
We wouldn't need God's strong arms to bear us up in difficult times.
We wouldn't need the blood of Christ to save us from human sin.
We wouldn't need the Spirit flowing among us, wiping our tears.
We wouldn't need the Bible to tell us what the world does not.

God of all mercy,
Who loved us when we were your sinful enemies, (Romans 5:8)
Who saved us through your immeasurable grace,
Who gave us a gift we did not deserve,
Let us imitate you by loving those who are yet our enemies. (Ephesians 2:1-22)

Teach us to know how to love enemies,
To wish them the best of the life you intend each human to have,
And then pray and act so those wishes come true.
Teach us hope,
so we know that with your blessing, impossible dreams become reality.
Teach us faith,
so we know that only the strength to stop hating
will halt the cycles of violence and revenge.
Teach us forgiveness,
which we know is suffering love through piercing tears.
Teach us, O Lord, your ways.

When our community looks at our congregation,
Hears our words and sees our deeds,
Help them to know that you, the God of love, live among us
And that they can come to us to learn about Christian love of enemies.

~ written by Susan Mark Landis.  Posted on Prayers for Enemies.