Tyson: Mom! Instead if you driving me to school, can I take the bus today?
Me: Isn’t it early? Won’t you be waiting at the bus stop for a little bit?
Tyson: yeah, but Ms. P’s always there to receive early kids, I guess I’ll wait by her. *rolls eyes, sighs*
She really gets on my nerves with all her rules! She’s always saying something to me!
Me: so here’s the deal, I’d prefer to drive you, but since you want to ride with your friends I have three conditions:
1: take out the trash
2: put on your coat
3: when you see Ms. P this morning say, “Good Morning, Ms. P. How are you today?
Tyson: (groans) uh, mom! Really?
Me: Yep! If you’re going to intentionally place yourself where you’ll be around someone who you have issues with, you’re going to practice enemy love by greeting her with kindness.
Tyson: (over dramatic tweenage growl): she is my enemy!
Me: So…who do we know that had something to say about that?
Tyson: (resignedly) Jesus. But, Mom! Seriously? I. JUST. CAN’T. EVEN!
Me: Just stop. Look at her in the eye, realize she’s a person–
Tyson: She’s not she’s an evil rule-making–
Me: She is a person who Jesus loves and even though she feels like an enemy we are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Tyson: (whining) I know but it’s soooooooo haaaaaaaaard!
Me: So, we’ll pray that the Holy Spirit who helped Jesus love his enemies will help you show love to Ms. P today.
Tyson: (throws hands up in the air) And what if she starts a conversation with me? What if she starts to remind me of the rules?
Me: Then you smile, nod, and say, “Yes, Ma’am”.
Me: Yep, dude. Enemy love is hard.
Tyson: Fine. Fine. I’ll do it. But can I think of my kind words as ninja daggers?
Me: Uh…sure, as long as you’re imagining your kind words cutting up the bad energy between you two, then sure, kind ninja dagger away. I’ll touch base with Ms. P about the bus stop today.
Tyson: (throwing his bag over his shoulder) You owe me big for this.
Tyson: (heads out the door) Ok. Pray for me. Ughhhhhhh.
You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” ~Matthew 5:43-48, The Message
Seeking Shalom at the Bus Stop,