How can I show love for those that bother me?
Today’s Gospel is another well-known passage that contains a motto by which we should live as Christians:
…love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well… (Lk 6:27-29)
My mom always taught me that you don’t have to like someone, but you should love them. But it’s hard to love everyone… especially the people who are grouchy, unpleasant, or even just mean in how they treat you. I encounter people like this quite often, even in my role at church. It definitely affects me. Often, a person’s critiques or cruel words can feel like an attack, and my immediate instinct is to either defend myself or point out they are being hypocritical, but that is not what Jesus is teaching in today’s reading.
Jesus is asking me to take whatever mean words or actions are thrown at me and offer kindness in return. So, no matter how much I am bothered by someone’s unpleasant or nasty comments, my response should be kindness. That is a tall task, but I find that it is much easier to be kind after I sit on a situation overnight and pray about it. I almost always find that God has given me new energy with which to approach the situation the next day. This leads me to that kinder response.
So the next time someone bothers or says something unkind to you, one easy way to show kindness is to just take it in, pray about it, and pray for that person. It is much easier to offer the other cheek after time spent in prayer.