I enjoy waking up early when everything is quiet. The chaos of life hasn’t had an opportunity to interject itself into my thoughts yet and my mind seems like still waters. No ripples of worry, no fretting over tasks to be accomplished. Just a blank slate waiting to be written upon.
One of my first activities of the morning is to spend some time reading the Bible. Once I begin preparing for work, I find that my mind continues to ponder the morning’s reading.
Recently, my morning’s reading included this phrase – “love your enemies”. I found that phrase rolling around in my thoughts that morning. It was quickly followed by 1 Corinthians 13.
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (v. 4-7)
As I thought on these two passages I realized how radical this was, and how far short I had fallen in living this. I had considered that if I tolerated those who were unkind to me, which sometimes amounted to nothing more than ignoring them, that I had fulfilled the command to love my enemies. But this type of treatment would not even reach the standard of what in previous generations had been considered mere common civility.
I have turned the command of the Lord, which is a command of action, into a passive command. Matthew 5:44 gives these instructions:
Love your enemies
Bless those who curse you
Do good to those who hate you
Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
So it seems to me that this passage, along with 1 Corinthians 13, gives us a comprehensive love plan. Matthew 5 tells us what our outward, active response should be, and 1 Corinthians 13 instructs us as to a proper attitude of the heart.
The Lord, as usual, has covered all the bases. Now all that remains is for me to obey.