Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
The words of today's Scripture reading echo the words of Jesus, who taught, You have heard that it was said, ?Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44). At first, this seems like an impossible task. Loving the lovable is easy. But how can we show real love to someone who mistreats us or is difficult to get along with? Perhaps Samuel Johnson's insight on the difference between kindness and fondness can help. He once said, Kindness is within our power; fondness is not. That was his way of saying that we all have it in us to be kind to people, even if we are not fond of them. We don't have to wait until we like people before we can be kind to them. When we discover the truth in that bit of wisdom, we are often surprised by another discovery: kindness can lead to fondness. The kinder we are to people, the more fond of them we will become. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we can also pray for others, asking for the strength to forgive them and love them without conditions, the way God does. As C. S. Lewis once pointed out, we shouldn't waste time worrying about whether we love our neighbors or not. We should simply act as if we did.
Thank you, Lord, for loving us even when we were your enemies. Help us to be devoted to showing your love to others and honoring them above ourselves. In Jesus, Amen.
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