In all of our lives there are people that we dislike or, heaven forbid, even hate, because of their bad behavior. We may pay lip service by saying we pray for them, but deep in our hearts, we can’t stand them, and think not-so-nice thoughts about them.
Jesus teaches that it is important to love all, and in that love, forgive bad behavior without accepting it. Jesus loves even the worst of sinners, even though the terrible things people do makes it easier to be angry with them, reject and condemn them. In our human weakness we can so easily forget how deeply God still loves these people, and how we must, too.
Evil knows the power of love and fears it–that is why, when we think of those who do bad things, the evil one tries to infect our minds with thoughts of anger, bitterness, hatred, revenge, and unforgiveness. Evil is infectious and the only way to stop the infection spreading is the way Jesus showed mankind in His life: the way of love and forgiveness. These are powerful weapons against evil, which evil fears.
It is in love of God and man that forgiveness becomes an expression of that love, and becomes a force for good that stops evil from infecting the mind, heart and soul. From the cross, Jesus set an example for us of loving and forgiving unto death. He overcame all evil and defeated it throughout time and eternity. No evil could stand before His divine love and forgiveness.
In our lives, sometimes we are easily frustrated, because in spite of our love and forgiveness, nothing seems to change with those doing bad. We ask “Why isn’t God doing something to change the situation!” In truth, God is–we just don’t see or understand what is happening, just as the Jews didn’t understand the victory of Jesus on the cross. It was only later that mankind began to see and understand what happened on the cross, and the effect of the loving sacrifice of Our Savior.
When we offer love and forgiveness in the most difficult situations, we cannot see what is happening in the spiritual realm. The love we show confronts the evil ones assailing the person who may be trapped in doing bad. Our love, united in the love of God, is a sword of light cutting through the darkness, weakening and wounding the evil ones. Even though we may not see the immediate effects of this, evil experiences it and cowers at the power of our love.
In our physical realm, the effects are not seen for some time, as it may be much later when little changes begin to happen in the lives of those doing wrong–little changes that can lead on to much bigger ones.
However, even if no change is apparent for many years, or at all, the love shown will be remembered when the people doing wrong face judgment, and Jesus takes into account the love and forgiveness we have shown these people. Our offerings of love and forgiveness, united to Jesus, will, in turn, result in mercy being shown to many. How could Jesus not take into account the love we have shown others, and not forgive, as he asks us to?
Because our love and forgiveness will help save souls, we must ask daily for the Lord to help us love and forgive. The Holy Spirit will remind us when our pride or anger leads us into bad thoughts of others, telling us how evil is trying to stop us from loving and forgiving. The Holy Spirit will give us the grace to return to good thoughts and to keep focused on God’s love. We will then feel within us the certainty of the victory of love and forgiveness over evil as we see Our Savior on the cross before us, crying out to even the worst of sinners in love and forgiveness.
We must pray each day that even the most evil people are shown mercy, even though we know that some may not accept the love and forgiveness of the Lord, and will pay a high price in eternity for not doing so.
So let us all unite in prayer that we can truly be loving and forgiving and that through our love of our Lord, even the most evil will open their hearts to God and accept the love and forgiveness offered by him and by those who love and follow the Lord.
God bless, Alan.