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It's Hard to Hate

“It’s hard to hate someone you pray for every day.”

It’s a line I heard as part of a sermon some years ago. Predictably, it was delivered as part of a “love thy enemies” message, which would make it fitting for a reflection on this week’s Gospel reading and the readings from the previous few weeks. But when I heard that line some years ago, my situation at the time made me consider it’s message in a unique way: “Someone” can mean ourselves.

After all, how often do we make enemies out of ourselves? How often do we harbor anger toward ourselves? How often do we chastise ourselves for what we consider our own weakness? How often do we employ negative self-talk, calling ourselves “stupid” and “idiotic” and far more descriptive adjectives whenever we make a mistake or fall short?

If you’re anything like me, the answer is frequently.

So Jesus’s teaching in Sunday’s Gospel gave me pause. One line in particular made me reflect on the s