Advent Day 22: Good for Evil
Following Jesus’ commandment to not resist evil, these words are only a natural continuation of the sentiment. Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father 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 have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)
Once again, these words seem to go against the natural order of things. These words are exactly as they are said. In other words, there is no way to find other meanings to these words. Yes, they are opposite what you have been taught. Right off Jesus tells us that the natural order is overruled, by prefacing the commandment with the words, “You have heard that it was said…”
Everything here is predicated on the goal of being “perfect, just your Father in heaven is perfect.”
There are four sets of action and response.
- To do good to people who do good to you, or
- To repay evil with evil is only human.
- To repay good with evil, is itself evil. It is from the devil.
- To repay evil with good, is divine. It is from God.
Before we go any further, let the words of today sink in deep. It is the cornerstone of Jesus’ teaching. These words can only be said from a place of love.
Today we pray the Jesus prayer, as recorded in the Gospel of St. John, 17:25-26, O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. Amen.