February 23, 2014
When someone wrongs us,
it’s not often that our first instinct is prayer.
(Or maybe it is prayer, but certainly not the kind of prayer Jesus talks about –
not prayer on behalf of the one who wronged us.)
Even our own Martin Luther
was known to have some choice words for those who disagreed with him –
and they don’t sound to me like prayers!
“You are a toad-eater!”
“You are like one drunk or asleep speaking between your snores!”
“I beg you put your glasses on your nose, or blow your nose a bit, to make your head lighter and the brain clearer.”
“You are like mouse-droppings in the pepper.”
…and these are the tame ones!
Do they sound like prayers to you?
No,most of us react in anger to those who attack us,
not with prayer but with fighting back,
if not with fists, than with words.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus says
“Do not resist an evildoer.
But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also…
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
… Which is why when we hear of someone actually doing what Jesus said –
responding not with hostility but with care and concern and even love for an enemy,
its unnaturalness makes us pause.