Monday, March 5, 2012

If you're not for me

Lent 2012  A clean Heart, Create in Me   C.S. Lewis
Saturday, March 2     Matthew 5: 44-45

Love your enemies.  Three simple words.  A lifetime to master.  I have tried this and seen some amazing changes... in me.  Anger and enemies is mostly about self anyway.  We hold on to the anger and resentment that creates an enemy.  Can we maintain that anger when it is met by grace?  And what do we have to be so angry about?  Lewis slaps us in the face with those survivors of the holocaust that forgave their tormenters, the slayers of their families, the rapers of all that they considered sacred home. 
When I get angry I try first to change my breathing.  Then I focus on giving the injustice, the hurt, the wrongness to God and praying for the strength to leave it there.  Then I seek to find something positive to pray for with my enemies in mind.   At first I devise prayers that were retribution for the wrongs I had perceived.  For that person, that drives me crazy, I prayed that God give them patience.  I knew that God would give them situations where they had to develop patience.  I giggled at what "I" had inflicted.  When I matured a little, I prayed for my enemies safety and deliverance.  For the impossible driver who cut me off, I prayed for them to arrive safely becase obviously there was some emergency that I was not aware of and they needed God's protection to make it wherever they were going.  But then I sounded haughty, like I knew better.  So finally I have settled on asking to be part of God's will either because of this situation or in spite of this situation.  By praying myself out of the center of this struggle, the angry energy dissipated and I found myself forgiving as (in the same manner) I would like to be forgiven.  I had not changed the reasons and people involved in my struggle, but I had changed.
And as for that saying: "either you are for me or against me,"  well I'd like you to consider gravity.  It is by definition, a force that acts against us every moment of our lives and yet, we would not have an atmosphere, or the ability to move without it.  Maybe our enemies are teaching us how to breathe and allowing us to be strong enough to move. 
Dealing with our enemies is similar to cleaning our closets.  How can we have a clean heart with dirty packed closets?  So, a clean heart, create in me by helping me love my enemies.

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