“For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed?” —1 Samuel 24:20
This is a very difficult ask. “Do good to those who hate you”. Just wow! I recently experienced some hate directed toward me on social media. (It’s the risk of being a public figure or one who wants to evangelize in a digital world.) There are always going to be negative people, who say mean things – haters. This is very prevalent in the world we live aka “the Twitterverse”. We are all broken. And out of this brokenness, people lash out (including ourselves at times.) How do we respond? This is the challenge!
Again, the Holy Spirit is always working even when we are not aware of it. Sometimes I become very aware of it, like yesterday. Almost directly after experiencing this mean keyboard lashing from someone behind their screen, I open my daily reflection book and read the following reflection which was just like God was speaking to me. I wanted to share it with you, because we all will encounter haters who are hurting. What we do with that encounter is our choice, our challenge. The reflection beginning in the next paragraph gives us a guide on how Jesus responded, and how we can emulate him. (The reflection below is from Presentation Ministries One Bread, One Body.) And if you are looking for more advice on how to handle digital trolls, CLICK HERE, or to get a full “how-to” evangelize in a digital age, CLICK HERE for my new book “Breaking New Ground: Discipleship Using New Media.” I go into great detail in Chapter 8 on “Tips for Digital Discipleship” including how to deal with negative experiences online.
Jesus and David were both in a position to overcome their bitter enemies, but spared them. David was a seasoned warrior, a man of blood-stained hands (1 Chr 22:8), who had often killed. When he found Saul in a defenseless position (1 Sm 24:4ff), David could have easily killed him. However, David spared Saul, though he knew Saul would continue to seek his life.
A large crowd of armed soldiers came to the Garden of Gethsemani to arrest Jesus. When Jesus confronted them and stated His name, “I AM,” the soldiers all fell to the ground, seemingly paralyzed at the revelation of Jesus’ divine power (see Jn 18:6). Jesus was presented with an opportunity to escape His enemies, and did not. He could have called down twelve legions of angels to rout the soldiers, but did not (Mt 26:53). Instead, Jesus took the initiative to question the soldiers, in essence rousing them to resume their task of arresting Him (Jn 18:7).
Jesus lived what He preached. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you and pray for those who maltreat you” (Lk 6:27-28). Who are the people in your life who seek to harm you? Can you imitate Jesus and love your enemies?
Prayer: Father, pour out Your Spirit on me. Help me to imitate Jesus every moment of my life.
Promise: “Your kindness towers to the heavens, and Your faithfulness to the skies.” —Ps 57:11
Praise: St. Agnes, virgin and martyr, has been venerated by the Church since the Fourth Century. A basilica constructed over her tomb was rebuilt by Pope Honorius around 630 AD.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)