“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
If you are one who follows the tradition of Lent,
you are also likely to follow the tradition of giving up something you love
or spending the next 40 days not eating meat on Fridays.
These are all personal practices that Jesus never asked of us.
They are meant, like fasting,
to help you be mindful of the time
and be present as you remember Jesus days leading to the cross.
What Jesus did command of us,
in more ways that I will ever mention in 40 days,
is to love everyone.
The person who cuts you off on the road.
The person who cheats.
The person who steals.
The person who murders.
The people in prison.
Those who are homeless.
Those who are lazy.
Those who are addicts.
Those who lie.
Those who spit on you for you beliefs that are not theirs.
Those who do the unthinkable to children.
Those who would take your very life.
Jesus never asked us to do anything He did not do Himself.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
And as Jesus hung nailed to a cross, with his side pierced,
He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
He gave His very life for us, just as we are, deserving death for our sins.
As it was when the men brought the woman to Jesus
to stone her for adultery, Jesus asked of them
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7
They all left and Jesus told her He would not accuse her either.
We are as everyone. Do not think too highly of yourself.
Our sin is as great as another’s.
We are the unlovable in the eyes of the law of God.