Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

Make an effort to love those who hate you

George Irwin

EACH week a member of the local clergy will be sharing their THOUGHT' FOR THE WEEK. This week Rev George Irwin, rector of Ballymacash, on the importance of treating people kindly, whether we like them or not.

WE are often reminded today that we are living in the age of the computer. And it goes without saying that the computer has made an enormous impact many areas of life. Not only is it a most valuable labour-saving device, but it enables people to operate much more efficiently.

Perhaps because of the great benefits brought by the computer people sometimes become idealistic about it, thinking that it is capable of almost magical results.

However, when we get down to the business of using this advanced piece of technology we soon discover our balance. We discover that its output is very much limited by the quality and accuracy of the material which is fed in. As one of the operating manuals puts it, 'If you feed garbage in, you get garbage out.' Or as the Bible says, 'The measure you give will be the measure you get back.'

The truth of this insight is clearly demonstrated in the area of personal relationships. Very often, the way we behave towards others determines the way they behave towards us. We see our reflection in other people; if we wish them to love us we must first love them. The person who wants others to trust him and befriend him must be prepared to act in a trusting and friendly way.

Now, of course, it is much easier to act kindly towards those whom we like. But what a difference can be made to the quality of life when we make the effort to treat people kindly whether we like them or not.

This is an important element in what Jesus meant by love as the quality which; above all others should characterise the Christian Life. He said. "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you/ For even sinners do the same." (Luke 6:32,33)