From Our Pastor: 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Our response, “Woah Woah Woah Jesus! Slow down there! You don’t know what my brother did to me, or my friend did to me, or my spouse or ex-spouse did to me! It was terrible. You can’t be speaking of THAT can you?!”
Yes, He is speaking of whatever terrible and egregious thing that has been done to you, by no matter who has done it to you or how close they are to you. Forgive it. Forget it. Love them anyway. This doesn’t mean put yourself in harm’s way to be hurt, but it does mean that we forgive, forget, and love them anyway, while allowing Christ to heal the part of our heart they hurt.
His grace is effective. When we hold onto our grudge or our hurt, all we are doing is continuing to give that person power and control over you and allowing you to continue to be hurt by that person. When we forgive them, and forget the hurt, allow Christ to heal us, and love that person again, then we take control back from those that hurt us and give that control over to the Lord.
When we try to justify holding that grudge for whatever reason because Jesus doesn’t understand how bad this was that this person did who was so close to me, look then to the cross for the answer to that. Jesus was whipped and scourged and suffered and died all while forgiving and loving those who did this to Him. All while being betrayed and abandoned and denied by those who were closest to Him. He knows betrayal and hurt and suffering better than we ever could, and there on the cross He forgave us. Yes, I said US, because when we sin, when we hold a grudge, when we choose anything over the Lord, we spit in His face, we nail in those nails, we betray Him, we deny Him, we abandon Him, we scourge Him, we crucify Him. And yet He forgives us and loves us IN our sins, but He forgives us and loves us OUT of our sins.
We also have the example of David today, a prefigurement of Christ, especially in this moment. Here, David is literally being pursued by Saul to KILL David, and David finds Saul sleeping where he could easily take Saul’s life, but instead David shows mercy and love and compassion on Saul as he is the anointed King of Israel, anointed by the Lord.
Ladies and gentlemen, those who hurt us are our brothers and sisters in Christ, the anointed of God in their baptism and in His choosing of them in the faith. We need to follow David’s model and example and show mercy, most especially because we too need mercy; from others, but also from Christ. So today, let go of that hurt. Let go of that grudge. Seriously. No matter what they have done or who it was. Go and seek healing and mercy and forgiveness and love them; even if they reject you in that moment, love them anyway. That is the model we have in David, and that is the model we have in the New and Eternally reigning David, Jesus Christ. Let Jesus heal that hurt and help you to love more fully yes; even our enemy, especially them.
Thank you to those who have gotten their pictures taken for the directory. If you are still looking for the opportunity and don’t know if any more times or days are available, please call the office. If we have more to take, we can add more days easily, but we need to know how many more before we move forward with additions. Thank you to so many who have taken the opportunity to be a part of this directory, but there are many more out there! Don’t miss out!
As we look forward to one last weekend before Lent (crazy to think it’s that close), start thinking about what you can do this Lent to grow in the spiritual life. Don’t wait until the last minute. Pray about it. Seek where God is wanting you to grow. Take this Lent to really truly challenge yourself in fasting, sacrifice, penance, alms giving, spiritual reading, Scripture reading, and prayer. Don’t go easy on yourself! Pick some challenges! Make them achievable but make them tough. Start thinking and praying now and see where God leads you this Lent in the path of discipleship.
-Rev. Steven Arisman