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 he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 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? So be perfect, just as your heavenly father is perfect.
Yet, the notion to love as God does, and that means “everybody,” has almost become a noxious, indecent, cowardly, weak and almost vulgar concept. While in the face of the most painful tragedy, love not hatred is still God’s greatest command. You cannot hate sin or the sinful away.
For Christ, the choice to love was obvious. If we are to be true children of God, we must be different; we must love as God does, without fear and hatred because those attributes are the opposite of love. We must be perfect. I used to be overwhelmed by that notion. I am completely aware of my imperfection, so how could I ever come close? I become perfect by practicing love, by opening myself up day after day to God’s grace. Every time I chose love over hatred and fear, I am built up and purified…every time I choose the latter, evil wins.
And so I make this indecent proposal: When the desire to respond to evil with evil presents itself, call on the perfection of God and choose love.