“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

~Matthew 5:43-48

So what exactly does this mean? I can tell you what it means to me and where it takes me.

It takes me to Sunday July 24th, 9:00 am at my church, four rows from the stage. It is there I will sit and hear a message that I have heard before, but I will hear it in a different way this time. This time I will listen. I will hear ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ and what that means to me is love your mother in spite of everything she has done. Forgive your mother for all of the pain she has put you through. Show her God’s love even when it hurts and seems unbearable.

Why should I do this? Why should I let go of the hate and tools I use to hurt her? Why can’t I live my life thinking that my excuses for this hatred are valid? It hasn’t hurt anybody. Or least I tell myself that.

But I will tell you who it’s hurting. It’s my husband, it’s hurting my children, it’s hurting the middle school girls that I lead and it’s hurting my relationship with Christ.

I can’t show my husband, Ben, the confidence in myself that he needs to see when it comes to raising our children together.

I can’t effectively be a good mom and show my daughters how to love Christ and love their mother unless I live by example.

I can’t show them how to be good moms for their future children.

I can’t talk to my middle school small group about their relationships with their mothers unless I fix mine and have a healthy balance of relationships and boundaries.

I can’t give every area to Christ except my relationship with my mom. I’m a hypocrite.

So how will this message on this particular Sunday be any different than hearing it in Sundays past? I will stop feeding myself lies that the relationship can’t be fixed. I will stop feeling entitled to my hatred and anger towards her. I will stop using my children as a tool to hurt my mom. I will start writing her, sending her pictures of her grandchildren, and show her the love of Christ through my actions towards her.

Will this be easy? Of course not.

But this isn’t just about me anymore.

By Kim Nunes

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