Last week I was heading to pick up a camera I had taken in for servicing. I found myself lost in thought as I drove south on Interstate 5. My inner musings were rudely interrupted as a white sedan cut in front of me and proceeded to swerve back and forth, straddling two lanes of the freeway.
I held my breath and tried to give the driver the benefit of the doubt, thinking perhaps they couldn’t decide whether or not they were going to exit. When the erratic driving continued, I lost it and angrily hammered my horn.
Ever been there? I admit I find myself in this state of mind more than I’d like. It’s an easy leap to make from frustration to outright hatred. I find my uncharitable flareups are not only triggered by dangerous drivers.
With the U.S. election in the rearview mirror and President Biden’s first 100 days drawing to a close, I still find myself getting worked up by things I hear on the news or conversations I have with others. I find it hard to be kind when faced with those who don't see the world the same way I do.
This week, my gracious Father directed my attention to a passage in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Like He often does, God used the Holy Spirit and Scripture to soften my angry heart.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:43–48, ESV).
What a timely message. Just as I was struggling with my attitude toward others, God brought this passage to mind. My commission is to love those who see things differently than me. Yes, I’m even supposed to love that crazy driver. When I pray for my enemies, God mysteriously works to move them out of my enemy category.
Lord, help me lean into You when I feel the pull to demean your creation — even when they are my enemies, even when I don’t agree. Give me Your capacity to love, which is immeasurably greater than mine.