Channels of Peace

Luke 6: 27-38
Col 3:12-17 / Ps 150:1-6

But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-28)

True Christians bear no enmities,
And we give with no prejudice;
When we forgive our enemies,
We become God’s channels of peace.

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Reflection

The president of our running club asked me to join their meeting as they had an important matter to discuss. A new member I sponsored had been bad-mouthing the club and its officers. My immediate reaction was anger at this person. Next to BCBP, my running club holds a special place in my heart. For more than two decades, the wholesome relationships and fun fellowships among the more than 100 members have always been a source of pride. Being a past president, I enjoyed the respect and confidence of all the officers, who had been patient and tolerant with this friend whom I had invited to join our club. Unfortunately, the camaraderie in the club had failed to make any moderating influence on the fellow, whose boorish behavior had only put his sponsor in an awkward position. Controlling my agitation, I called him up on my mobile, as the meeting hushed into silence. I asked him if it was true that he had told some people “the officers of the club are stupid.” I was shocked to hear him admit his words without remorse, and even said he didn’t care if the club expelled him. Full of anger now for his arrogance, I asked the board members for the fellow’s expulsion. But my anger quickly subsided when the president said, “Why don’t we just write him a letter and invite him to explain his side?” Another board member commented, “Maybe a suspension would be more appropriate, rather than outright expulsion.” I was humbled and moved by their compassion and tolerance.

In our renewal community we find it so easy to express our love because it is readily reciprocated. We casually do favors for each other because caring and harmony are part of our culture. We pray for God’s blessings on those who are kind to us, and we offer our cheeks when we greet each other with a kiss. But our Lord Jesus asks us, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Lk.6:32) Jesus wants us to bring our loving to a higher level. “But rather, love your enemies and do good to them… 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.” (Lk.6:35-36)

Thank you, dear God, for friends who guide us in right paths, who show mercy and forgiveness even to those who are arrogant and boastful. Bless them, I pray. Amen.

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