Bless them that curse you

Jesus taught:
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45)
I don't know that I have any real enemies. At least I hope not! I have, however, been used. I've experienced meanness from others. And I've used and been mean to others, as much as I hate to admit it. Those kinds of experiences lead me to "like" some people less than others, even if only out of self-preservation.

Recently, an unfortunate turn of events impacted someone whom I have avoided and toward whom I have felt less-than-friendly. I decided to pray for him. I prayed that he would be blessed during this difficult time and that he would be able to overcome his circumstances soon.

It was a small act. Much smaller and less impactful, I suppose, than the experience of praying for someone who may have despitefully used me or committed a grievous offense against me (I'm lucky enough not to have experienced that yet).

But it changed something in my heart.

I felt less lonely. I felt sympathy. Distaste gave way to, dare I say it, love. I believe that if I were to keep this commandment more consciously, my life would be full of greater peace. If the world were to heed this teaching of Jesus, many of its citizens would experience healing and happiness.

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