Tuesday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1st Kings 21:17-29, Psalm 51:3-16, Matthew 5:43-46

“Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days.” (1 Kings 21:29)

It appears there is a contradiction between our first reading today and our Gospel passage. While God sends Elijah to Ahab to deliver a message of curses for Naboth’s murder, Jesus is telling us that it is in loving our enemies that we can be as perfect as God.

God hates evil. God does not tolerate sin. God doesn’t just watch while innocent lives are being crushed by those in power. Nonetheless, God loves the sinner and even when the sinner has to suffer the consequences of their wrong choices, God never stops loving him or her.

In other words, it is possible to love a person without defining him or her by their sinful deeds. This is the perfect love of God and the model of love Jesus recommends. Basically, Jesus is telling us to treat the sinner like a person who does bad things, not like a bad thing who just happens to be a person.

Jesus wants us to see the good in others and love them by praying for their repentance rather than develop hatred for them. It is only when we still recognize the good in others that we can forgive them. God showed mercy to Ahab when he humbled himself and repented because God saw something good in him.

On the other hand, when we allow hatred overpower us, we stop seeing our offenders as human beings. We label them by their deeds and start looking for ways to revenge. Even when they come to ask for our forgiveness, we either turn it down or pretend to have forgiven while we remain bitter within. Sadly, many years after, we continue to speak about such persons in a very bad light.

As Jesus teaches us, if we do not forgive sincerely, if we save our kindness only for those who are kind to us, then we are no better than non-believers. We may be very active or even hold positions in the church yet, we remain unbelievers. No wonder Jesus says: “The gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14).

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me walk the narrow path of forgiveness and mercy. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you.