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Following The Truth: An Advent Challenge: Love Your Enemies! (Catholic and Open)
followingtheTruth.com ^ | Dec 13th, 2011 | Gary Zimak

Posted on 12/16/2011 8:43:04 AM PST by Salvation

An Advent Challenge: Love Your Enemies!

Dear Lord,
So far today I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossiped, cursed, or lost my temper.
I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent.
I am really glad about these things.
But, in a few minutes Lord,
I am going to get out of bed,
and from then on,
I’m probably going to need a lot more help.
Thank You,
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.  (Author unknown)

Most of us will chuckle when reading this prayer, but isn’t the message really true?  One of the most difficult aspects of being a Christian is dealing with people.  Especially challenging is Jesus’ command to love one another.  Even more difficult is the Lord’s command not just to love those who love us back, but to love those who annoy us and to love those who (gulp!) hate us…our enemies!

If I had my choice, here’s how I would like to practice my faith.  I’d take a prayer book, rosary, and my Bible and sit in church or an adoration chapel for several hours each day.  I would be able to speak with the Lord, feel His presence and experience total peace.  Although it’s not impossible, it is very difficult to commit sin while I’m in church.  By using this approach, chances are good that I wouldn’t be sinning that much.  Therefore, achieving my salvation would be a “piece of cake”.  Brilliant strategy, right?  The only problem is that this is not even close to what the Lord wants me to do.

Like it or not, most of our lives are spent interacting with people.  We must deal with family, friends, coworkers, fellow students, store clerks, uncaring receptionists at doctor’s offices, demanding supervisors, customers who scream at us because they are not happy and individuals who absolutely don’t like us and want to make us suffer as much as possible.   Do you get the picture?  Some of these dealings are just not going to be pleasant.  Fortunately for us, the Lord gives us some guidelines to follow:

I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. (John 13:34)

That’s fine, I can handle that.  How about if somebody treats me badly?  What should I do then?

Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22)

This is getting tough, but I think I’m still good.  If someone apologizes, I have to forgive them.  I guess the only exception to this “love one another” thing is when someone hates me and makes no effort to be nice.

“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, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Now, my friends, you see what being a Christian is all about…and it ain’t easy!  In order to call ourselves followers of Jesus, we must love as He loved.  How did He love?  By forgiving those who tortured, mocked and crucified Him.  To make matters worse, the reason He was on the cross in the first place was to redeem all of mankind, which included the very people who were putting Him to death.  And despite the fact that they laughed at Him, beat Him, and hung Him on a cross to die, He forgave them!  In the same way, Jesus expects us to do the same to those who mistreat us.  While it sounds impossible, it isn’t.  The only catch is that we must ask for help.  We can’t be expected to accomplish this on our own.  If we pray and receive the Sacraments frequently, we’ll receive the graces necessary to pull this off.

The season of Advent is all about preparing for the coming of Christ.  We should be using the time to turn away from our sinful behavior so that we’re better prepared to meet Him.  For the remainder of this Advent season, why not pledge to pray for and be kind to that individual who hates you?  Ask the Lord to bless that person and offer thanks for having them in your life.  Why?  Because without that person, you wouldn’t be able to fulfill Jesus’ instructions to “love your enemy”.  Loving that enemy will help you to get to Heaven one day.

Even if you don’t have any real enemies, I’m sure you can think of a really annoying and difficult person for whom to pray during Advent.  That would be a great use of the next few weeks.  Personally, I’m glad to be able to share this post with my Internet followers and speak about it on the radio.  For, when asking everyone to pray for the most difficult and annoying person they know, I know I’m going to get some prayers directed my way!

Do something good for someone you like least today.  (St. Anthony of Padua)



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Theology
KEYWORDS: advent; catholic; loveoneanother

Gary Zimak is the founder of Following The Truth Ministries (http://www.followingthetruth.com), a lay apostolate created to assist Catholics in learning more about their Faith. He is a regular guest on EWTN Radio’s “Son Rise Morning Show”, Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo” and appears frequently on several other Catholic radio programs.  In addition to writing for CatholicLane. Mr. Zimak hosts a daily program on BlogTalkRadio and posts frequently on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.  He is a member of Catholics United For The Faith and the Knights of Columbus and resides in New Jersey.


1 posted on 12/16/2011 8:43:15 AM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...
**In order to call ourselves followers of Jesus, we must love as He loved.  How did He love?  By forgiving those who tortured, mocked and crucified Him. **
 
"Love your enemies."   Could that really happen here on FR?

Catholic Ping!

2 posted on 12/16/2011 8:46:27 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Sometimes the very best thing I can do is remain silent and pray for His Mercy and aid.


3 posted on 12/16/2011 8:50:08 AM PST by Judith Anne (For rhe sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.)
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To: Salvation
"Love your enemies." Could that really happen here on FR?
"The church is to be a loving church in a dying culture. How, then, is the dying culture going to consider us? Jesus says, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." In the midst of the world, in the midst of our present culture, Jesus is giving a right to the world. Upon His authority He gives the world the right to judge whether you and I are born-again Christians on the basis of our observable love toward all Christians."
-- Francis A. Schaeffer, The Mark of The Christian, quoting John 13:34-35

The Mark of the Christian, part 1
The Mark of the Christian, part 2
The Mark of the Christian, part 3

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
-- Romans 13:8


4 posted on 12/16/2011 8:55:24 AM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Salvation
For, when asking everyone to pray for the most difficult and annoying person they know, I know I’m going to get some prayers directed my way!

I'm going to get a avalanche of inbound prayers if this gets around my neighborhood!

5 posted on 12/16/2011 9:07:43 AM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture (Could be worst in 40 years))
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To: steve86
I'm going to get a avalanche of inbound prayers if this gets around my neighborhood!

ROTFL!

Elias Al-Karim says he’s always gotten along well with his neighbors, who are evangelical Christians. But he was angered recently to learn that they had added his name, and the names of his wife and children, to Community Faith Center’s corporate prayer list. Elias called the church to complain.

"We do not want prayer from Christians, and we did not ask for it," he told a reporter. "It’s a violation to pray for someone without their knowledge or consent."

To ease tensions, the church did what many churches and ministries are increasingly doing: started a "do not pray" list. The list grew rapidly after Al-Karim alerted the local newspaper about his experience. Hundreds of Muslims, atheists, Mormons and even pagans called to have their names added to the list. Now when prayer requests come in to the church, names are checked against the list before they receive prayer.

"We have to respect people’s wishes," says the pastor. "If they really don’t want prayer, we honor that"....

....Sharon Grumman, a self-described "blue-state liberal freakazoid" says she was furious to learn that a co-worker had put her name on Peace Lutheran’s prayer list in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"Who gave them permission to practice their religious voodoo on me and my children?" says the single mother. "I consider it spiritual harassment, even if I do think prayer is bogus."
-- from the thread ‘Do Not Pray’ lists prove popular


6 posted on 12/16/2011 9:20:52 AM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Salvation; All
"Love your enemies." Could that really happen here on FR?

Yes. Even here. :)

Merry Christmas!

Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife. And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

7 posted on 12/16/2011 9:38:12 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Judith Anne

Even as of late, and after what I have gone through with my teeth problems, I would say to myself that “I would NOT even wish this suffering on my worse enemies”.


8 posted on 12/16/2011 9:39:10 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Salvation

Who was it that coined the phrase “love your enemies from afar?”


9 posted on 12/16/2011 9:39:47 AM PST by Morgana (Rent this Space....Cheap)
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To: trisham

In this seasons of HOPE, Advent/Christmas, yes it can happen.


10 posted on 12/16/2011 9:40:57 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Alex Murphy
Let me see if I have this correct:

Muslims claim that they worship the same God as Christians, but don't want Christan prayers.

Mormons who claim to be Christians and Baptize the dead with out permission, don't want Christian prayers.

Atheists who don't believe in God don't want you praying to something that does not exist for them.

and finally pagans who worship everything under and including the sun, don't want us to pray for them.

That about sum it up?

11 posted on 12/16/2011 9:42:08 AM PST by verga (I am not an apologist, I just play one on television.)
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To: Alex Murphy

For those who have asked to be added to “Do not pray” lists, we pray to the Lord.

Lord, hear our prayer.


12 posted on 12/16/2011 9:45:58 AM PST by rwa265 ("This is My Beloved Son, Listen to Him.")
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To: rwa265

LOL and Amen.


13 posted on 12/16/2011 10:14:51 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Jesus, I trust in you.)
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To: Morgana; Judith Anne

>>Who was it that coined the phrase “love your enemies from afar?”<<

Whoever said it was brilliant.
Mostly, I’m with Judith Anne, the best I can muster up is to ignore the worst of them.

The killer of it is, most of the people on FR who slam my faith, I would not consider an enemy. They consider me such. Oh well, I can’t help that.


14 posted on 12/16/2011 10:43:27 AM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice)
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To: Salvation

“Love your enemies.” Could that really happen here on FR? Of course it could but it has to start with the person in the mirror!

Mel


15 posted on 12/16/2011 11:01:25 AM PST by melsec (Once a Jolly Swagman camped by a Billabong....)
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To: melsec
Don't expect a reply.
16 posted on 12/16/2011 12:12:34 PM PST by 7MMmag (Five cents, please...)
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To: Salvation

“Love your enemies’’. But never forget their names. Peace be with you friend in Christ.


17 posted on 12/16/2011 3:23:58 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: jmacusa

That’s a good one. Never forget their names! LOL!

But God forgets our sins once we have confessed them and repented.

Hmmm.


18 posted on 12/16/2011 5:33:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
"Love your enemies." Could that really happen here on FR?
Catholic Ping!

It's truly a no-win here. If you started being nice to everyone here, they'd call the folks from the funny farm to haul you in.
Whether you love them or not, you have to do your best. That doesn't mean being a doormat, loving all of them indiscriminately. You aren't their Creator--He HAS to love'em cuz He made'em.

Having discretion about people is wise. Poison people really are to be avoided lest their poison rubs off on you. Even NICE people are irritating sometimes.
As I said, we do our best, oh, OFTEN. :o)

19 posted on 12/16/2011 7:25:11 PM PST by cloudmountain
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To: Salvation

I just prayed. What a feeling of love.Praise Jesus!


20 posted on 12/17/2011 12:59:26 AM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass ,Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: Alex Murphy; Salvation
That is amazing. The enemy suckered that bunch. How stupid. My Mother prayed for everyone. When she was at the end of her life. We would have special devout christian caregivers( some became more devout prayers) sent to her. This woman had the most powerful instrument in Christ. Prayers.

All her life miracles abounded because of pray. He helps your needs not your greeds.

I truly believe if pray completely stopped all over the world. There would be a darkness all over the world that definitely bring the end times. Remember what our Lord declared will he find any faith when he comes back. I truly believe this means less pray for these times to come. It is happening even now.

21 posted on 12/17/2011 1:13:14 AM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass ,Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: Alex Murphy

I have read Francis Schaeffer. I still have his books somewhere. He was a great Christian. I cannot believe what happen to his son.


22 posted on 12/17/2011 1:16:33 AM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass ,Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: rwa265

Amen!


23 posted on 12/17/2011 1:17:13 AM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass ,Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: Salvation; All

Its easy to love anyone, any where, and at any time as long as
CHRIST is the center of our faith.

Praise Jesus!!

Jesus4life


24 posted on 12/18/2011 4:05:46 PM PST by jesus4life
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