FEBRUARY 23,  Matthew 5:43, 44


After school, Joshua walked to the nearby dentist’s office where his mother worked as a receptionist. He was glad school was over. What a day it had been!


“Hi, Mom,” he said as she looked up and greeted him. He plopped down on a chair in the waiting room while she got ready to leave. His bag slid to the floor beside him, and he gave it an angry little kick which Mom noticed. “What’s wrong, Joshua?” asked Mom when they headed for the car. “I don’t like Matt,” said Joshua. “In fact, after what he did at school today, I think I hate him!”


“Hold it!” exclaimed Mom. “Hate is not a word I like to hear. What happened?”


“Matt threw an eraser and hit Stacey on the back of her head. Since I sit right behind Stacey, she thought I did it,” explained Joshua, “and she told Mrs. Lim. I said I didn’t do it, but Mrs. Lim didn’t believe me. She made me stand in the hall just outside the door where she could see me. Matt should have admitted he did it! After school he tried to apologize-but it was too late!”


Mom looked at Joshua thoughtfully. “Sounds like you need a filling,” she said. “A filling!” exclaimed Joshua. “Who’s talking about teeth? Besides, I just had some fillings! My teeth are fine!” Mom nodded. “When you had cavities, what did the dentist do before filling them?” she asked. “Well… he drilled out the decay, of course,” replied Joshua, “and then he filled the space with a special material. But why are we talking about fillings? What about Matt?”


“I was thinking of your problem with him,” said Mom. “It seems to me that it’s a little like problems with teeth. They both need drilling and filling. Matt was wrong, but I think you need to drill the decay-which is hate - out of your heart and fill the space with forgiveness.”


“Drill out hate?” asked Joshua. “How can I do that?” “Well,” began Mom, “you need to use a much more powerful tool than a dentist’s drill. You need to use the tool called prayer. With God’s help, you can get rid of the hate and forgive Matt.” Joshua sighed and didn’t say anything. “Pray for Matt, Son,” added Mom. “I’ll be praying for both of you.”


Thought: Do you ever harbour hate or dislike? Use prayer to clear them away.


Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to love my enemies and pray for them. This I pray in Jesus’ name – Amen.