Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard the commandment, “You shall love our countryman but hate your enemy.” My command to you is: love your enemies, pray for your persecutors…for God’s sun rises on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and the unjust. Matthew 5
It’s these sort of verses that used to send me right over the edge when I was a teenager. The contradictions just didn’t seem to have much logic to them (still don’t for that matter). What was the point of being good, I’d wonder, if good and bad got the same treatment? If accepting Jesus as a “savior” was all it took to get into heaven, then the one who had a wild time, cheated people, drank, smoked, all the vices we teenagers were asked to give up, and accepted Jesus in the last dying moment, could still reach heaven.
Still seems a little unfair, doesn’t it? And yet, what we have here is another lesson in judging others. We simply do not have the capacity to judge others fairly, and so we’re told much more often than we’d like to give up judging. We have not lived that other person’s life; we have not felt what that other person has felt; we cannot know why that other person does as he or she does. God’s grace falls on all.
Makes you sort of wonder why we go through all this following the rules and examining our lives and trying to live a good life, doesn’t it?
The rewards of the “kingdom” are not in the “next life.” The rewards of living a loving and peaceful and kind life are right now. Today. In the way we feel, the way we experience our lives, the way we go through each day.
Judging others is probably one of the easiest things we do while being peaceful and loving might be the hardest. Today, practice loving kindness – to others and to yourself. Observe when you judge a person or situation. Just observe. Avoid judging yourself (there’s lots of other people to do that!) and turn the judgment to loving kindness.
The words, God’s sun rises on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and the unjust, is simply another way of saying, “we’re all in this together.” And if it’s one thing we are learning these days, it’s that we are all in this together.