Years ago, I was slandered publicly on the internet. People said awful things about me and my beliefs, about my work, about what I stand for. And other people believed them.
I hung up the phone after reading the hateful words to my friend who lives across the country. She had tried to comfort me, but the situation was too big, overwhelming, and distressing. Feeling sad that her words didn’t lift me, I walked into my bathroom and turned on my shower. Getting under the showerhead, I released all the tension in my body, and the flood of tears came pouring out.
I cried tears for every awful word this person said about me. I cried tears for the people who believed her. I cried tears for the pit in my stomach that made me think, How could someone actually believe all that?
The experience brought so much pain, self-doubt, and confusion. Self-doubt in what I was doing online cultivating the community of Blessed is She and about my pure and transparent heart for others. Confusion about my ability to trust others and how someone could treat me so poorly and have little to no regard for my feelings, my family, my faith.
And yet, as painful as it was, it did not discourage me from my work spreading God’s teachings, especially on love.
Despite that situation, I still believe in people, redemption, and mercy because of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In today’s scripture, Jesus is very specific:
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. — Luke 6:27-28
Our Lord Himself teaches us that even if someone hates us, we still love her. Even when someone curses us, we still pray for her and bless her.
I believe when Jesus Christ commanded this, He meant a soul-surrendering sort of love. One that doesn’t make sense, is contrary to every instinctual feeling. This kind of love means that even if someone were to try to harm your heart... you would love her.
Lord, if that’s not one of the hardest commandments You’ve ever said, I don’t know what is.
Loving her means treating her with dignity even when it is painful to do.
I’ve come to understand that loving someone doesn’t always mean letting him or her in your life over and over again to potentially cause you more harm. If we are in a position of danger, we absolutely should get out of the situation and pray for and bless someone from afar.
Sister, Jesus knows about that suffering you or someone close to you may have gone through or is currently going through. And He is with you in that pain. He will never leave or forsake you.
Even when (not if) someone hurts you — in your workplace, in your families, in your friendships — you are invited to treat them as you would have them treat you, just as Jesus commands us today in Luke 6:31.
But He doesn’t stop there. His commands are actualized in His life and death. He isn’t asking us to do something He Himself isn’t willing to do. He demonstrated that on the cross. He showed us what it costs to “love [our] enemies” (Luke 6:27).
Jesus gave His life even for those enemies who crucified Him.
He lived in the freedom of the Holy Spirit to give even in the midst of the attempt to strip Him of His dignity, His worth, His life.
And in the midst of that suffering, He freely gave for you and me. In the midst of whatever comes our way, we can listen to our Savior’s commands and see how He lived His life to love as He did.
Like Him, we can lay down our lives, every single day. Like Him, we can love our enemies, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who hurt us. With Him, we can live a life of mercy.
READING: LUKE 6:27-28, LUKE 6:30-31
• Take a mental inventory of how you’ve approached being wronged at work. Are you self-righteous in your venting or condemnation of the person or his or her actions? Have you tried to approach the situation with today’s scripture in mind? What would you do differently, if anything?
• Who in your life has shown you how to live out the Golden Rule? Who has treated you kindly when you didn’t return the favor? Offer a prayer for these people now.
Excerpted with permission from Made New: 52 Devotions for Catholic Women by Nell O’Leary, Leana Bowler, Brittany Calivitta, Jenna Guizar, and Liz Kelly, copyright Blessed Is She Inc.
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Can you think of a person you’ve known in your life who has modeled the Golden Rule for you, who has been like Jesus to you? Maybe drop that person a line today and tell them how they’ve encouraged your walk with Christ! Or if they’re already in Heaven, thank God for them and emulate that Jesus-likeness. May we be like Him today! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you about loving others. ~ Devotionals Daily