Reflecting on Luke 6: 27-38
One of the great experiences in my life as a classroom teacher was the afternoon teacher’s lounge. That’s where, at the end of the day, teachers told the adorable stories of their funny first-graders, or teachers in the upper grades shared their challenges of making history interesting to junior-high boys who were more interested in pulling desks out from under each other.
But the most challenging (and, in hindsight, valuable) part of that time was learning from the more experienced teachers. One day I was congratulating myself on standing up to a fourth-grader who had been talking back to me. She got my most humiliating stare, and then, in her silence, a long homework assignment.
“Well,” said a revered and much beloved faculty member, “I think you embarrassed her because you’re bigger and have the authority. I try never to ridicule or demean a student, no matter how obnoxious, just because I can. There are other ways to discipline without humiliating a child.”
Ach! Her correction went straight to my heart, and straight to that place where behavior changes. I hope I have never since that day used any authority I might have to demean anyone, especially one who is powerless.
Notice how St. Luke gets straight to the point, early in his gospel, to make sure we remember how deeply Jesus wants us to understand this. Pray for those who mistreat you, says Jesus. Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you.
It’s exactly the opposite of what we want to do. It’s totally counterintuitive. So, come to think of it, was the Cross. But by such wondrous love the world is being saved.
What grace have you found in praying for those who have hurt you?
Kathy McGovern ©2019