Episode ThemeCommunity-Building: Love Your Neighbor
Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
Have you ever had to love an enemy? It’s super hard to be kind to someone who is unkind to you….and yet….it’s what Jesus commands of us. In her book called Praying the Names of Jesus, Ann Spangler writes about a real person who lived out Jesus command.
Maximilian Kolbe was a priest in Poland during World War II. Nazi’s put him into the prison camp called Auschwitz in 1941. The guards beat him and abused him because of his faith, but his response to the guards was always to pray for them.
One day a prisoner escaped. The guards said the punishment was that ten other prisoners would be chosen and sent to an underground bunker to die slowly of thirst and starvation. One of the chosen men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out when he heard his name called. Suddenly, he heard another voice—it was Maximilian Kolbe offering himself as a substitute. The guards agreed and took the ten men, including Father Kolbe, to the bunker to die.
Another man named Bruno Borgowiec worked for the guards. He later told people that when those ten men were in the bunker, he heard Kolbe leading them in prayer and in singing day after day. Borgowiec said that the bunker sounded like it was a church. Father Kolbe was the last man alive, so the guards decided to inject him with acid to kill him. Borgowiec watched as Father Kolbe prayed and reached out for the guards as he was dying.
Father Kolbe loved his enemies: the guards. He loved his fellow prisoners through his actions, his prayers, and his encouragement. What about you? God hasn’t placed you in a concentration camp, but there are annoying people in your life. You may have bullies or mean people where you are. When you see them, remember Father Kolbe, and love them with your actions and prayers. Father Kolbe didn’t do it alone; he trusted in God. Ask Jesus to help you love your enemies; you may be surprised at what he will do with your offering!