A guided meditation using a Lenten devotion from Henri J.M. Nouwen’s From Fear to Love
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
One of the core messages of the Gospels is "Love your enemies." When we're dealing with our own needs, anxieties and fears, we tend to divide the world into enemies and friends. But God showers the rain over the bad as well as over the good.
God doesn't need to divide the world into those for God and those against God because God loves everyone uniquely and unconditionally. Our God wants us to do the same, but we can only do that if we believe in God's unconditional love for us, and if we are not overly dependent on human affirmation or rejection. We will be able to love our enemies precisely when we no longer need to divide the world into friends and enemies. To love our enemies is the core message of the Gospel because it is a reflection of the way God loves us.
We are invited to spend some time with these questions:
- What needs and fears of mine cause me to divide the world into enemies and friends?
- Do I too quickly and easily categorize people as “for God’ and “against God”?
- In what areas of my life has a lack of trust in God’s unconditional love for me caused me to be overly dependent on human affirmation or rejection?
- Now take time for conversation with God.
Respond: What is God asking me to do or to be as a result of this time of reflection?
Rev. Anne Russell Bradley
, Associate Pastor at Columbus First UMC