I ask for the grace to be present and to experience Christ's presence in this time of prayer and meditation.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;* do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God;* for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ 20No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1) "...do not curse;" "...live in harmony with one another;" "...do not be haughty;" "...do not claim to be wiser than you are;" "...leave room for the wrath of God;" "...overcome evil with good."
2) I want to argue that this is so much easier said than done! How often does a false humility keep me silent in the face of evil? I am silent in the face of bad behaviour because I fear speaking out will name me as complicit, or as a hypocrite, so I let it be. But then when I do speak out, I do so vengefully, when I've simply had my fill and my ego is sufficiently bruised that I won't take any more. It takes tremendous faith to believe that good can overcome evil, the temptation to be overcome by evil, to think I can fight evil with evil, is huge... impulsive. It is one thing for me to desire and attempt to "live peaceably with all," but those I'm living with are not always peaceable. Today I am so grateful for the Boston Declaration made yesterday. I really have difficulty leaving room for the wrath of God... It comes out, "If I believed in hell, you'd be burning in it." But I do believe that those who refuse to invest in kindness, don't experience kindness and kindness is a truly good thing, a horrible thing to deny ourselves. I don't even want to imagine what it is like to live in the head of someone who seems pathologically incapable of showing genuine kindness. But I acknowledge that the limits of my kindness are perhaps closer than I wish they were.
3) What is the invitation in all this? To trust that good can overcome evil without using evil methods. To take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. To leave room for the wrath of God.
"Holy One, strengthen my resolve not to curse anyone today."
Breathprayer: "Rejoice... overcome evil with good."