Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Matthew 5: 38-42

"I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5: 44)

Today we are celebrating India's Independence Day. We also observe the end of the 15th day lent. We must always remember that we received independence not through guns or through our mighty hands but through non-violent (ahimsa) religious and cultural movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and his followers, which is the age old spirituality of Indian civilization. In many ways the teachings of Jesus "The sermon on the mount", greatly influenced Mahatma Gandhi especially he was inspired by the spiritual value of ahimsa i.e. non-violence.
Selfless Love crosses religious boundaries and man made laws: Jesus teachings go beyond the teachings of Pharisees and the existing practices. In Mathew 5 verse 20 onwards, we notice in Christ's teachings, he says "You heard that, but I tell you" in five places. His teachings surpass the teachings of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law regarding the righteousness. The entry into the kingdom of heaven is not merely on keeping the law pertaining righteousness, but practice "love" beyond the law. We will encounter difficult people in our lives, sometimes we need to set limits but yielding to the temptation to undermine or hurt them in any way is not God's way.
God's love is the archetype and paradigm of all actions: What is the characteristic of God's love? God's love comes from the inner being, to be performed giving up attachment and desire for fruits, complete renunciation for the fruits of his deeds or it is Nishkama Karma. The intention is only the welfare of others. In Mathew 5 verse 45, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteousness and the unrighteous". This model of God's love in action, we must follow in action and dealings with other people.
Not everyone respond positively to us, but we can pray and plan for a more harmonious relationship. Therefore let us set our heart and bend our energies to hold on to the spiritual values and not on the worldly values and be loyal to God, who loves all. During the Gujarat riot when a large number of Muslims were mercilessly killed by Hindu extremists, few Hindus came up showing extra ordinary courage to protect and safe guard their Muslim brothers, exhibiting their Godly love and mercy. In many ways it reflects Jesus teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. As we observe the fifteenth day lent, let us overcome evil with good and hate what is evil. (Romans 12: 21.)
Heavenly Father, enable us to abstain from revenge, cling onto what is good, devoted to one another in brotherly love, to keep our spiritual fervor, to find always a space for God in all actions, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Amen.
Let us use our freedom to love.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church