Luke 6:27-28 – But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those to hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:32 – Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful (HCSB)
When our son Shay was a toddler, my brother would grab Shay’s head and give it several vigorous rubs, each rub adding fuel to Shay’s bonfire of resentment. No amount of begging had any impact on my brother until one night the rubbing came to an abrupt end when Shay bit him. My husband calmly took Shay’s hand, led him down the hall, gave him an age appropriate talk on how biting is not the correct response, and brought him back with the instruction, “Tell Chuck you’re sorry.” The immediate response was “I not.” My husband again took Shay’s hand (perhaps less calmly this time), led him down the hall, and gave him a more sternly worded talk on biting. Again, he stood Shay in front of my brother and gave the instruction “Tell Chuck you’re sorry.” Again the immediate response was a calm but definite “I not.” My husband tucked Shay under his arm and walked the hall at a speed coveted by Olympians for years to come. The biting talk was replaced with “When I tell you to do something, you don’t tell me you’re not!” A very adamant toddler voice answered “I not tell you I not. I NOT SORRY!” There have been people I wanted to retaliate against and would not be sorry for doing it, but Jesus told us to love our enemies, pray for our tormentors, and be merciful because God is merciful. I am called to remember that God loves that person and, because I love God, I need to show His love. Besides, adults aren’t allowed to bite.