For Those Who Persecute Us

"Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them." (Romans 12:14)

Open this meditation by centering yourself. Find a quiet place that is free of any distractions. Settle yourself into your breathing. As you inhale, breath in God's love. As you exhale, breath out gratitude. If you find yourself thinking about something, say to yourself, "I am thinking," and then return to you breathing.

Breath in love . . . breath out gratitude. Breath in love . . . breath out gratitude.

Imagine someone who you think treats you unjustly. Try not to think of any particular action of that person; that is, don't think of the act of injustice you feel they had committed against you. Instead, think only of the person. Pay attention to the details--what is he or she wearing? What is his or hair like? Is there a scent--a perfume or cologne--that comes to mind as you think of that person? Notice your feelings toward that person, then gently turn your attention to the image of the person you have conjured up.

Take in a deep breath. As you breath in, imagine breathing in all that person's suffering. Hold that breath for a very brief moment, and let that suffering diffuse through your body. As you exhale, breath out comfort on to that person in place of the suffering you took into yourself.

Repeat this process. If your thoughts start to drift, say , "I am thinking" and return to your breathing.

Breathe in that person's suffering . . . breathe out comfort. Breath in suffering . . . breath out comfort.

As you continue to take on this person's suffering and as you continue to offer comfort, you will begin to see him or her through the eyes of compassion. Do you notice your heart softening toward this person? Do you begin to see him or her less as an enemy and more as a person who is suffering and in need of comfort?

When you feel the time is right, offer this person a blessing. You can use the following blessing from Scripture or one of your own:

The Lord bless you and keep you!
The Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!
(Numbers 6:24-25)

Close the meditation by slowly expanding your awareness to your surroundings. Offer your own prayer of gratitude, and go about your day with a compassionate heart.