On Sunday, I asked for prayers for the victims of the shooting in Tucson, and also for the nation to take this as an opportunity to behave more civily toward one another. In repeating back the prayer request, my pastor wisely added, “and also prayers for the shooter.” How right she was to include him in our prayer. Jesus taught the following.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:27-36. I think it is also worth noting that when Linda similarly offered prayers for the 9-11 terrorist a family decided not to come to Chalice anymore. They were still just checking us out, but that remark was too much for them. I guess it is too much for a lot of people; but, if we want to call ourselves Christian, we don’t have much choice but to at least try.