…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
How often do we see people looking for the payoff, or what’s in it for them, when it comes to ethical decision making. How often do we see this way of thinking in our own discernment and thoughts? In a culture that relies upon contractarianism and utilitarianism to determine ethical behavior, we are vulnerable to such poisons.
In the Catholic tradition it has always been maintained that virtue is its own reward, that we perform the good deed solely because it is good and for no other reason – “we are useless servants. We are merely doing our duty.” A servant does not expect recompense nor even praise for doing their duty, and we likewise see the ethical life in similar terms.
There is no reward for loving our enemies or praying for them, but such behavior is certainly good in its own right and far superior to the revenge our world seeks, or even following Jesus’ command for some benefit or reward for ourselves. Our lot is to do the good as Jesus did, a good that leads to the cross – and to the reign of God.