Our first reading is the opening of Paul’s letter to Timothy, who was Paul’s right-hand-man. He recalls a time when he, Paul, was an enemy of Jesus, persecuting Christians. He tell Timothy that God, who knew he was acting out of ignorance, forgave him for all the seemingly hateful things he did back then.
God was patient with Saul in those years when Saul was persecuting Christians. Here he tells Timothy that God put up with him because God knew Saul was acting out of ignorance. We must copy God in that. Instead of thinking hateful thoughts against those we see as our enemies, we should realize that they are doing what seems to be right to them.
It is helpful for us to meditate on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The first of them is Wisdom. It inclines us to act in a way that will lead to good results in the long run.
The second Gift of the Holy Spirit is Understanding. It inclines us to look at what is standing under the behavior of our enemies. We see that they are acting for what seems right to them, and we give them “the benefit of the doubt.”