”But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28 NIV)

During my lifetime, I have had many sad and, let me say, many “not so nice experiences.” Raised as an only child, given a great education at a private girls’ school for six years, college educated, and the most enlightening and damaging part of my life ... is the experience of receiving the word, “He hates you.”

Tossed around through family members, I learned at age 18 that I was almost given up for adoption right after my mother gave birth to me. It was, needless to say, quite a painful and astonishing “eye-opener.” One of my aunts just would not allow that to happen.

However, during all these years I have had absolutely wonderful and loving experiences in my life.

You may ask how “hate” can be enlightening, correct? The bitter “taste” of the word hate is brutal and very sour indeed.

However, out of that word, for me, comes the realization I must have compassion and forgiveness for my enemies. Having those feelings for someone who hates you is very difficult indeed.

If we allow the hateful words and actions of others to impede our relationship with Jesus, then we are truly doomed to a miserable life.

Tears fall from my eyes when I hear anyone speak, act upon, or be stricken, by hate. The hater suffers as well as the hated. God does not want us to hate ... but man just cannot seem to let go of the self-will of wanting things his own way.

Hate can be born out of greed, sorrow, illness or any other miserable pain in life. We must rise above all of these “poisons” that fall over us, dwell within us and break our hearts.

There is a song we sing in church, “Let Us Break Bread Together,” by Joan Baez. I love this song so much and sing it with all my heart. This is a copyrighted song so I feel I cannot print the words, however, you can find the song on the internet. When you do, it will enlighten your very being, I am sure!

When someone “hates” us they are only damaging their own souls and we need to forgive them or we, too, will damage our souls.

We truly do need to come together, somehow, someway, to get on our knees and face God and “break bread and drink wine,” as one body in Christ.

If you have someone who hates — or let us soften that to “dislikes” you — for one reason or another, please try and understand what may be happening in their lives. No one wants to really carry around that burden of a “heavy stone-hardened heart,” so try and pray very hard for those who cause you sorrow. They have to have sorrow somewhere in their soul.

”Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:31-32)

So often things happen in life that we just do not understand and so many times, because of our busy world things get miscommunicated, thereby, causing people trouble. Sometimes those actions can lead us down the road to “terrible feelings” for others. Try very hard not to let this happen to you. Be watchful of your goings and your comings, your speaking and your listening, your actions and, also, your non-actions.

All of the above can happen in a “moment” of carelessness, selfishness, anger or sorrow. Be very diligent in your everyday life to prevent the ugliness of “sin” from creeping into your lives ... thus causing hate and sorrow. Try to feel the “heart” of those in your life and those you meet and feel compassion for them. Forgive any who wrong you, reach out to those in need, even if you think that person is your enemy.

We, also unfortunately, must be wise and not put ourselves in any harm, so sometimes all we can do is walk away from a situation and pray! God hears our prayers and knows what is in our hearts. Be kind, be loving, be forgiving, however, also be safe in dealing with others.

May God bless you and your families and any animal companions you may have.

Leigh Moran of Fort Wayne has had wonderful, painful, frightening and uplifting experiences, centered around her relationship with God, that she shares in her writings. She has seen what faith can do for each of us. She and her husband have three children and three granddaughters. A former teacher and a social worker, she is a 12-year breast cancer survivor. She has a ministry for cancer patients in Indiana and Nashville, Tennessee.

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