I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
1 Timothy 1.5-7
Apart from the delightful personal touch that the author adds to the beginning of this letter (again, one of those letters ascribed to Paul but unlikely to have been written by him) there is this striking declaration about love here and one that we might miss on a cursory reading.
"...God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline."
Love is held up as something that is opposite to cowardice, and love is tied up in 'power' and 'self-discipline'. Love is powerful and calls us to be disciplined. Love is brave.
Love takes courage, it takes courage to love ourselves as we are without condition. It takes courage to love others, even our enemies. And it takes courage to love God, as that love will challenge, disturb and change us.
May we be courageous in all our loving.
A Prayer for the Courage to Love Our Enemies
God of all creation,
Open our hearts and eyes
so that we might see
the face of our adversary,
and recognize, as you do,
that they are our sister, our brother.
God of Justice,
You call us to live in truth.
Give us the strength
to admit our past transgressions,
and to build new partnerships
with old enemies.
God of Peace,
You call us to love our enemies.
Give us the wisdom to translate
that love into a choice for
dialogue over demonization,
diplomacy over military confrontation.
God of Nonviolence,
lead us on your path to peace
that we might walk humbly with you.
We ask this in the name of the One
whose peace we seek, Jesus the Christ,
who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit,
now and forever.