“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
A number of years ago I heard Fr. John Powell, SJ, say that each and every one of us is a unique and unrepeatable image of God. Beautiful words – until I realize that they apply just as much to my enemies as to me. God made our enemies, and loves them, so we are commanded to love them too.
How can I love my enemy? Jesus tells us to pray for our enemy. I can pray for both of us to have a new heart and new attitude toward each other and God. It goes both ways.
That’s easy enough as long as I don’t have to meet my enemies face-to-face. What then?
Here is the way chosen by Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. I quote him:
“To our most bitter opponents we say: We will match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Do to us what you will, and we shall still love you. Be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”
Who are my enemies? What action of love can I make for an enemy today?
reflected by Sharon Sullivan