Hate? Love? Pray!
For the past few weeks several folks have asked me how it is we can possibly love those that we, frankly, feel like we hate. As many of you already know my past few sermons have focused a good bit on the theme of love and choices and how these relate, or maybe don’t relate. In a more broad based concept, how we feel and what we choose to do are sometimes thoughtfully related and sometimes thoughtlessly related.
That our Gospel message is a message of love is ever more important during these times when what we see and hear and feel is less than loving. God’s clear-eyed understanding of who we are as human beings is addressed over and again in the scripture that we claim is important to our lives and our faith. God’s knowledge of how difficult it is for us to love our neighbor is abundantly clear.
God knows, seriously, that we struggle with love of neighbor – I mean if we are being honest we struggle with love of God too.
When I find myself growing more and more irritated and angry I pray. I pray specifically for whoever it is that is making me angry. Sometimes I simply say: God you know that what I prefer is for this person to be not, just not. And I know that this person is a beloved child of God. Help me.
This isn’t a very elegant prayer, most of my prayers are not elegant they are simply human and I feel that I am in a deeply private conversation with the only One who can actually read right through my BS anyway.
God doesn’t let me off the hook, by the way, what God does in a wickedly amazing way is redirect me and my prayers; and then what I find is that I am praying for myself and my jaded and hardened heart. There is something freeing about this realization of my own broken humanity in the midst of all that overwhelming judgment that I carry about someone else.
I pray for you each. I ask that you pray for me.