On the idea of praying for my enemies – Jesus was an example as he invited us to pray for those who persecute us. A paradigm shift transcended – who sees me as their enemy, whether accurate or simply based on how they perceive me? Are they praying for me? And if so, what would they want for me and my soul?
Am I hated based on my social status (white, male, authority figure of sorts), for my political ideology, my Catholic faith, or even perhaps for just being American and privileged? How well off are you financially: Global Comparison Calculator.
Whether I am a capitalist or not, I am certainly benefitting from American Capitalism and am represented, for better or worse, by American geopolitics and military action. As such, in many places in the world right now I am despised by people who have never met me or my neighbors. This is humbling and very sad.
Inside the U.S. we have a great divide as well over many division points. Do Republicans hate my political ideology and me? Are they praying for me genuinely? What would they ask for to change? Am I praying for people with opposing political views who I think are perpetuating persecution in our society and globally?
No matter where you stand – you will find trouble if you stand up. But stand up you must, not based on ignorance, but as Jesuit Tetlow said when describing fearing God he said to do so “soberly calmly, and creatively.” The same can be applied to standing up for human dignity worldwide.
No we don’t mean soberly in terms of not being under the influence of alcohol – but that would probably help too when serious things are being discussed or done!
Imagine if we all acted and spoke “soberly, calmly, and creatively” when confronted with our own flaws, our neighbors flaws, or our larger societal conflicts. What fun would there be in that – an authentic and humane conversation well thought out and stripped away of falsehoods and misdirections – and sober to boot.
Regardless, we must try and we will pay a price for doing so. Do you happen to know who Marty Babcock is? I don’t. He is credited with saying the following:
Jesus promised his followers three things: They would be entirely fearless, absurdly happy, and always in trouble!
Starting with the premise that we are all sinners – it is reasonable to conclude that our personal sin or collective sin is responsible in some small or grand way for the persecution of others.
God be merciful to me and may those who we have offended or presecuted forgive me, forgive us.
In the meantime, perhaps we all can make amends for the harm we have done to others and try, with the knowledge that we are imperfect, to avoid adding more offenses by actions or words. This will mean standing up within our sphere of influence to change the wrongs being done in our name, one word, one issue, one action at a time…leaving the results to that unknown future that we cannot control individually.