Mike’s Meditations: Love Your Enemies

by Mike Van Vranken

Our society seems to have lost any tolerance for the mistakes we make against each other.  The new definition of justice now includes punishing anyone who has wronged another human being.

In this meditation, I would like to ask you to sit up straight, lay your hands in your lap, take a deep breath, close your eyes and use your imagination.

Imagine yourself physically transferred back to the first century AD. You are sitting on the side of a grassy hill with a group of 40 or 50 people listening to the teacher – Jesus from Nazareth. You are comfortable sitting in the grass, the temperature is warm but not hot, and you feel a slight breeze brush across your face. The hill is high enough that you are removed from the noise down below. The atmosphere is quiet as you stare intently into the eyes of the speaker.  He is sharing with you many of the instructions and training he has taught over the last couple of years. He has just finished telling the crowd about this man who had two sons. One of the sons just returned home after committing some despicable acts. The man not only forgives his son, but reconciles him back into complete union with his family and with society – no condemnation or punishment. You are startled by this kind of love the father has for his son, yet joy has filled your being as you wait for more from the master. As he locks his eyes in on you, you hear him say: “Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.”

Chills start to run down your spine as your mind wonders if you heard him correctly. How many enemies do you really have?  Have you ever prayed for any of them? Finally, you hear him say: “I give you a new commandment – love one another.”  You stop your thoughts and realize – these are all new commandments and he’s giving them to you. The others on the hill are as amazed as you, but you have forgotten they are even there. This intimate conversation has become personal between you and Jesus.

Without losing the feeling of oneness with the Lord, allow yourself to come back into your present life in the 21st century, but keep your imagination on the words you just heard on the grassy hill. Which enemies do you need to love and pray for?

Maybe you can’t stand a political figure you don’t even know. You may disagree with the mayor of your town or the president of your country. Perhaps some famous star has shown his racial feelings or degraded someone publicly. Then again, your enemy might be your neighbor or even a family member. You continue to see Jesus’ piercing eyes as you linger on the thought of those “enemies” who you have privately or even publicly denounced and recommended they be punished. You now know your responsibility is not to punish them, but to love them and pray for them.

Mike is a writer and teacher. You can contact him at: www.mikevanvrankenministries.org or write him at: Mike Van Vranken, 523 Loch Ridge Drive, Shreveport, LA  71106.

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