"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."
When Danny and I get married, we know there will be issues with the kids adjusting to a blended family. It's to be expected. And, although we have our fair share of bumps in the road, Sarah, my daughter, and Danny's two boys, Giovanni and Nicco, roll with the changes and learn to get along.
What we don't anticipate, however, is the reaction of our pets. I am bringing my dog, Maggie, and cat, Jordan, into a household which already has Allie, a sweet, good-natured cat who, when she's not roaming the outdoors, stays in the garage. How will they respond to one another?
Maggie is used to cats, so having one more around doesn't faze her. While Allie is cautious around the dog when they are in the yard together, she doesn't run or act skittish. She lies down quietly and tries to simply blend in with the scenery. Maggie takes this as acceptance.
But, when Jordan and Allie meet for the first time on our deck, it is loathe at first sight. Oh, the hissing! The posturing! The caterwauling!
Jordan strikes! Allie counters! Danny and I separate them immediately.
"What are we going to do?" I lament.
"Well, we can make sure they're not outside at the same time," Danny suggests, "or, we can just let them work things out and hope for the best."
Fast forward seven years. The cats still feud like Hatfields and McCoys. While the physical attacks have abated, Allie continues to tell Jordan off with a threatening meow. Keeping her at bay. Letting her know who rules the roost.
No peace. No harmony.
Until . . .
It is a sultry July afternoon. Both cats like nothing better than sleeping on the deck in the summer heat. Not knowing Jordan is already outside, snoozing away, Danny lets Allie out of the garage.
What unfolds next takes us both by surprise.
Curled up in separate corners of the deck, Allie and Jordan are too lulled by the sun's warmth to care one whisker about intimidating each other. They lounge for hours, soaking up the rays.
Looking like amicable friends, not sworn enemies.
There is peace. Harmony . . .
And, maybe, just maybe, a wee bit of love is kindled in their kitty hearts.
Can you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you?
Will you pray with me?
As the cats found peace basking in the warmth of the sun, Father, may we find our peace in the warm embrace of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. May His love for us help us to love our enemies and pray for them always. Amen.