|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - November 2002||Last Modified November 1st, 2002|
The Lord Our God Taught Us To Love Our Enemies
Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ taught us to love our enemies. By the grace of our God we receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit, Who is the most wonderful guide and teacher we could ever have. It is He Who teaches us to love, and the love we learn about reveals an important, indeed astonishing truth: That we are to love those who are, or appear to be, our enemies. In our own spirit there comes a "stirring up" of concern and compassion for those who - in our eyes - have fallen away from that which is good, have lost a proper sense of humility, and certainly - in our opinion - have lost the love of God. That is how it may appear from our limited, human viewpoint, and the evil one is quick to encourage us to be judgmental so that our prayers, instead of being inspired and directed by the Spirit of God, may instead be motivated by our own selfish desires. So when you seek to pray for your enemies, those who persecute you, those of whom you are afraid, ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind to His viewpoint, and your prayers will surely become an important ingredient in the working out of Godís salvation, both for you, and for those for whom you are concerned. Think about it: When anyone confronts you in a evil way, or tries to bring dishonor to you, or takes what is yours, pray to the Lord for them and have pity. Again, there are those who claim to know all the answers to the teachings of the Church, and who consequently seek to persecute it. Let us pray to the Lord for them and have pity. But remember this: when we do pray in this manner for our enemies, the Holy Spirit enables us to look deep down into our own minds, hearts and souls, calling upon us to cleanse ourselves. It is then that our supplications for those who hate and persecute us will become effective, and our gracious and merciful God will help those suffering souls:
O Lord our God,So now we know what to do when we think about those who hate us, or who do not love us, or love our Church. We must pray for them! Our Lord God will indeed have pity on those who hate us, because He will notice our good intentions, and our good will, which in the end will make us better loving as well as pious Orthodox Christians. Therefore, being Christians, we should never have evil thoughts, or do any evil act, towards anyone. We must not be malicious towards anyone, because this reveals that we do not truly know God, nor do we have the love of God. Just think: All it takes is to pray for your enemies! We know perfectly well from the Holy Gospels, and also from the teachings of the Holy Apostles and the Saints of our Holy Orthodox Church, that we have the means to grasp the true meaning of loving our enemies. Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Holy Apostles, and the Saints have offered us all the guidance we need to understand how we should love and forgive our enemies. With this realization, spiritual peace will come to us, and following the act of loving and forgiving we receive not only our Lord Godís peace but also His grace, which is sufficient for salvation. Do not allow evil thoughts about anyone come into your minds, or have bad feelings towards them, as in this way we avoid falling into the trap of becoming judgmental. We do not have the right to judge! The supreme and perfect judge is our God alone, and He will take care of everything when He sees what is not good, or that a person is not living a good life. He will help that person finally realize that they must get back on their path towards their salvation. The Paradise of our Lord God dwells within us when we have true pity and pray for our enemies. From reading the Holy Scriptures we know that our Savior Jesus Christ humbly taught us: ĎThe kingdom of God is within youí Eternal life has a new beginning for all pious Orthodox Christians who can say that they have no hatred in their hearts, but love for all, even those who are enemies. Our inner torment is gone, to be replaced by peace, and the love of our Lord God prevails and reigns supreme. So, let us begin a new hour, a new day, and get back onto the path towards our salvation by starting to love our enemies, just as our Lord God has taught us to love them. Now we shall be saved by Godís mercy! Indeed, let us now give thanks to our Lord God for helping us, saving us, and keeping us by His grace. Peace to your soul! Humbly In Christ Our True God,
+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Glory Be To God For All Things!
Content written/compiled by Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes.
(c)2002 Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes