A parable from the book "Little Soul & the Sun", by Neale Donald Walsch, explains this beautifully.
God was dancing with a little soul who wanted to know what 'being forgiving' felt like. In over-hearing this, the little soul's bf offered to assist in his experience. The 'catch' was that in the transition of a lifetime adventure, they both would not remember who the other was, and the bf would have to become so unlike it's Self, dense & dark, and do something so terrible to her friend that it would require the little soul to 'be forgiving'. All the friend asked in return for such favor was for the little soul to re-mind her of who she really was in the process.
God then stepped in as they prepared for their journey & said, "Remember, I send you nothing but Angels."
No, this is not a rote Bible quote...but it's truth is plain to See. And I See All artworks, including literatures, as 'Inspired'.
We are All parts & parcels of Creator & Creation, yes? No matter what our lifetime experiences present us as, when these are said & done, we are still One...Always & all ways. And this 'reminder' is a perfect fore-thought to engaging with any presumed 'enemy'.
I recall a shooting at an Amish school years ago. The families of the deceased children made a 'radical' declaration unto our society by telling the shooter, 'We forgive you, because we know that to do so, we are forgiving of Ourselves.' Society pressed charges on this shooter...They did not. A grand example, indeed!
Anyway, Mark...the above is a children's book & worth the read of any one, Big or Little. "I send you nothing but Angels" is a powerful quote worth holding near & dear.
I appreciate you shared this wonderful answer and insights. Are you a Christian?
I don't go for the categorizing stuff, Mark...more of a 'take what rings true & simply leave the rest' kinda person. I have witnessed many hearts open genuinely & heal Amazingly with this one children's book.
Wanna hear something funny? I have lent many books to many folks over the years, of course to never see them again...all good, right? But, this particular one, travelled & left in the hands of many as well, has always found it's way back to my library to continue journeying...tear drops on pages, but it still looks brand new...it is over 15 yrs. old. Cool, huh?
I'm going to give this one a shot; since I think many people interpret it in such a way that they feel it is worthy goal, but impossible to adher to in one's daily life. I warn you, in advance, I have no strong insights.
I don't think the 'Love' part of it has anything to do with warm and fuzzy feelings. I think it falls into the category of the 'Love' referred to in the second of the commandments Jesus considered to encompass them all. I don't have to like you to show this type of love. I don't have to spend time in your company. But, I do need to ensure that when my actions overlap yours, or my decisions could have an impact on your life; I must take your needs into account when factoring a course.
Loving your enemies, to me, means to give them the full benefit of the doubt (no matter what our past history is). Just as I do myself. I eventually reason through any failure, any time I let myself down, and either forgive or learn from my mistakes. I need to do that for those I feel have let me down or failed me.
We do, at times, sabotage ourselves inadvertantly. Just as we may feel others have done on purpose. When we have done it to ourselves we search for the underlying reasons we may have done this. We try to understand them and we adjust our behavior accordingly. We need to give those we feel have 'transgressed' the same consideration.
We don't punish ourselves forever for past mistakes. We shouldn't do that to others. At home, at work or in any arena within our lives. We sand the sharp edges off of our own past mistakes and we need to actively do that for the mistakes we perceive have been made by others. Because, that is putting the needs of others on an equal footing with our own.
Loving your enemies is a simple suggestion to think and act in a manner that should not be reserved for yourself. The compassion you apply to your own life should be applied to others; no matter the history. And, it is difficult.
You ask for experience, but I won't share any. To do so would imply that I do have enemies and I firmly believe that there is no bridge too dilapidated to cross with compassionate, and open, communication. An enemy is simply your negative perception of another human being. And negative perceptions are indicative of a weakness in the individual who holds them. Once I work through my own weaknesses, that 'enemy' will exist no longer.
I will say that I have attempted to ensure that decisions and actions on my part do not reflect personal prejudice when dealing with others; especially those who perceive me as enemy. I will always give the benefit of the doubt, until all doubt is gone. And this has always served me well in the end.
Sorry to keep it short and sweet but I believe it means do not seek revenge on your enemy. Vengeance can poison the soul and can make people stoop to their enemy's level.
We are all interconnected. If we hate our enemies, we hate ourselves. Hate destroys. Remember God is love.
Humans are created in the image of God - the bible has taught us that.
Hate is a barrier between us and God. We must pray for grace to forgive and the ultimate grace is to be able to love our enemies.
The best answers are already given. However, I'd still want to add my insights on this. I believe that He wants us not to hate anyone including our enemies. In the first place, hate will sure take its toll on us regardless if we express it or not, it will be taxing our self-esteem, our mood, and our relationships with the people around us.
Haha. That's cute, considering the thread. Love your enemy. I guess it could be said that maybe God hates everything about humanity, but loves humanity nonetheless.
But, seriously. Don't take offense. I'm not attempting to turn your statement into anything you didn't mean.
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