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“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. … You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:44-45, 48).
At first glance, the above passage appears to be another lesson stressing the importance of loving one’s enemies. It is this, but it is also pointing to a deeper principle. Emphasizing the need to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you suggests a way to rise above the peace-robbing life of a reactionary. We all know how the quality of our life can be affected by the direction the winds of circumstance happen to blow. However, the imagery of the gifts of sun and rain continuing to be imparted illustrates the activity of God does not change according to circumstance or good and bad human behavior. Our spiritual freedom depends on our operating from this same principle.
Light streams through the blackness of outer space, yet we cannot see the light if there is nothing to reflect it. If we say light is good and darkness is evil, we will say of this darkness, “Look, here is evil,” and we will react accordingly. To condemn the enemy of your peace and pray for its demise empowers the darkness. The instruction to love your enemy suggests a way of holding up something that reflects the ever-present light. You’re not asking for increased light or praying that the light will behave differently. You are doing something to make visible this perpetually streaming light.
To love your enemy is to release the thought that there is an absence of light and affirm the opposite: The light is now shining in this darkness. To be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect is to behave as the Father behaves. Give your gifts of sun and rain, not because the world deserves them, but because it is your nature to do so. Affirm that illness, that financial setback, that turmoil with the neighbor is but a shadow of the underlying reality. The belief that these are real and capable of robbing you of your peace is the enemy you pray for. There is only one reality, and that is the unwavering light.
One thought on “Unwavering Light”
“Illness, that financial setback, that turmoil with the neighbor” is being off the beam, like a gymnast who loses her balance. She can climb back up and finish the performance on the balance beam. It is still there; it has not fallen.