loving those who hurt you
"Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." —Leviticus 19:18
Jesus was asked: "Teacher, which commandment of the law is the greatest?" (Mt 22:36) Jesus surprised His questioner by mentioning not one commandment but two. He surprised all of Judaism by maintaining that loving one's neighbor as oneself is the second commandment, and together with the first commandment forms the basis of the law and the prophets (Mt 22:40).
The Biblical context for the second commandment isn't merely about generally helping out our neighbors or being friendly to them. In Leviticus 19:18, to love our neighbor specifically means not bearing hatred toward them, not taking revenge on them, and not cherishing a grudge against them. So when Jesus was asked to name the greatest commandment, He did not merely add to the first commandment the command to love our neighbor; He also implied a prohibition against hating, taking revenge, and cherishing grudges.
Is there anyone you hate? Do you want to get back at someone? Are you holding a grudge? Have you forgiven from your heart everyone for everything? (Mt 18:35) Do you love your neighbor as yourself by God's standards? This Lent, be reconciled, forgive, and love your neighbor.
Prayer: Sacred Heart of Jesus, purify my heart this Lent to love the Samaritans and enemies in my life (Lk 10:29ff).
Promise: "These will go off to eternal punishment and the just to eternal life." —Mt 25:46
Praise: Father Ron forgave the parishioners who tried to have him expelled from his parish.
Reference: (For related teaching, order our leaflets, Unforgiveness is the Cause, and 14 Questions on Forgiveness.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997