The Responsibility of Peace: a Lenten Reflection
by Rebecca Brown
It’s 3:00 in the morning and my baby is crying. After almost an hour of soothing and hushing and comforting, my husband turns her over to me for a try. I’m exhausted after a day of sickness tearing through my body. I have nothing left in my stomach and I’m shaky from dehydration… but I still walk down to her room, hold her, and nurse her back to sleep.
This is my responsibility as a mother: I will do everything in my power to help my Little One. This is a parent’s role: as far as it depends on us, we care for our children—we strengthen them with our practical love… even when we are sick and tired in every sense of the word!
God has done the same for us.
The sacrifice of Jesus’ life shifts everything we understand about love. God loved us when we were enemies, and He did everything He could to reconcile us to Himself. Jesus calls us to radical imitation. Love everyone… sincerely.
One of Jesus’ early followers, Paul, gave us a litany of powerful instruction for sincere love: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good... Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.* Do not take revenge, my friends… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12).
Paul’s instructions are beyond what I feel capable of, but I didn’t know I would be capable of putting another person before myself the way I’ve done as a parent! My responsibility and love supersede myself.
Not even our religious commitments should get in the way of the responsibility of working to reconcile our relationships. Jesus tells us, “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
So, in the same way we give so much of ourselves to love our children, Jesus has shown His indiscriminate love for all and calls us to follow Him in that responsibility.
Is there someone who has something against you or who you have something against? How might you love that person sincerely this week?