As you know this Psalm depicts Jesus as our shepherd and we are his sheep. Sheep are really pretty dumb. They have to follow the shepherd or they will walk right off a cliff. We, as the sheep of God's kingdom need to follow the Good Shepherd (Jesus). Not only in where we walk but also how we talk, think and love.
In this book it talks of how Jesus loves - and if you've ever been to church more than a few times you know we are suppose to love as Jesus loves. Not just the folks we like or admire, but everyone. That is so difficult to do isn't it? In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Jesus gives us the instruction booklet for love. I read through the reference quickly because I'm familiar with it. I felt an urging to read through it again, slowly this time and read between the lines. This is how it read (emphasis is mine, of course):
Love is patient with your enemies, love is kind to your enemies. It does not envy anyone of anything, it does not boast even about your children, it is not proud of it's accomplishments. It is not rude to your enemies, it is not self-seeking at your job site, it is not easily angered at your neighbors, it keeps no record of actions against you. Love does not delight in evil even when it happens to your enemy, but it rejoices in the truth no matter who comes out on top. It always protects even your enemies, always trusts your enemies, always hopes for good for everyone and always perseveres and doesn't give up on those that disappoint you.
When I finished reading it this way I couldn't go on any further. This cut me to the bone. This is not one of those times where I can say, "well, I'm only human!" Yes, I am human, but the goal of a Christian is to become more Christ-like every day. I prayed and I ask God to reveal to me my shortcomings...sometimes it is hard to hear the answer to a prayer.
This scripture is not saying "play nice" it is saying "love". It doesn't mean smile and wave at your neighbor even though you don't like them. It means truly love them, pray for them. Our pastor has a saying, "you are suppose to love on people, even if they don't look like you, talk like you, dress like you or smell like you. Jesus died on the cross for them just as He did for you!"
I pray that we all can follow our Good Shepherd in his example of love - and I pray it begins with me.
Good night and may God bless!