|OCTOBER 2008||DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE||
DO NOT REPAY EVIL FOR EVIL
All of us want to be safe from all calamities and dangers. We all want to have peace, love and progress. We like to have heaven here and now. Nobody likes to be hated and to receive evil from others. But the world is affected by self-centeredness and selfishness. How to make people overcome this weakness and help them to grow in self-sacrificing love?
Sree Buddha, the great philosopher of ancient India, has said, "Hatred cannot be won by hatred, but by love." This is what St. Paul also says in the verse quotes. If we repay evil for evil, people will be tempted to do more evil to us and they will become our enemies. When people become our enemies, they will not come and help us in times of our need. On the other hand, if we forgive them and continue to do good to them, they will become our friends and do good to us. Is it not then foolish to do evil to others on any count? Is it not wise to do good to others as often as possible?
We have to train our children to forgive and love, from early childhood so that the future generation will be better. Solomon, the wise, says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
To forgive and love is our duty. We are the children of the same God, to whom we are obliged for all that we are and all that we have. God is giving us everything that we need in spite of our unworthiness. The air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the food that we eat, the light that enables us to see, to do constructive work and to avoid dangers, the intelligence which enables us to to have inventions and discoveries making our lives enjoyable, and the moral sense which help us to choose the right way. Should we not be thankful to God for all the blessings and love God and His children? Should we not refrain from repaying evil for evil and do good to them, seeing them as God's children?
Another reason why we should forgive and love people is the fact that all people are fellow being like ourselves. Our Lord says, "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." [St. Matthew 7:12]
Charity must begin at home. Let us then try to start forgiving and loving at home. Whenever we begin to talk or do something, let us think what kind of reaction that will create in people. We should do only those things that will inspire people with love. St. Paul says, "Let all that you do, be done in love." [1 Corinthians 16:14) When we do everything in love, we will inspire people with love. When light is brought, darkness is gone. Similarly when love comes, selfishness and all evil will be gone.
All religions teach that God is love and that our duty is to become love. The difference is only in emphasis. It is a mystery that people fail to practice love. They care more to hate than to have selfless love.
Jesus Christ has shown self-sacrificing love and has asked us to have the same self-sacrificing love. He has said, "This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you" [St. John 15:12] He has given us the assurance that He will fill us with love when we abide in Him. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." [St. John 15:5] We must get selfless love from Jesus Christ. If we do not get selfless love from Jesus Christ, from where else can we have it?
When we look at the world, we find the lack of self-sacrificing love. Revenge is prevalent everywhere to same content. On account of the lack of forgiveness and co-operation, there is revenge which results in degradation and destruction. This we find everywhere in families, organizations and countries. Quarrels, fights and wars are everywhere. There is also the possibility of world destruction through atomic warfare. Hence every effort should be made individually and collectively to make this world a heaven and training ground for eternal heaven.
|[Message delivered in the American Diocese Family & Youth Conference 2008]|
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LIGHT OF LIFE
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