How are we supposed to live with our enemies?
In this Sunday’s liturgy of the word, the Lord Jesus says to each one of us, “Love your enemies”.
Do we have enemies in our lives? Have you been wronged or mistreated or humiliated or plotted against by your enemies? Did you offend someone you have apologized to and the apology was not accepted? Have you angered someone who has set himself against you? Do you have a family or a community member who has a grudge against you? What do you feel inside yourself? Vengeance? A desire to punish or bring them down? Are you boiling emotionally inside yourself about your enemies?
We noticed how the truckers in Ottawa city have made the lives of the residents difficult and unpleasant because of their yelling and noise during the nights. We all have people whose lives have made our lives difficult and we think that our lives would be much better if they had never been born. These enemies, who are the cause of our vengeful feelings, are the people we are called to love.
How are we supposed to live with our enemies? Jesus tells us that you love your enemies by doing good to those who hate you, by blessing those who curse you and by praying for those who abuse you. We are supposed to “agape” our enemies, not to love them romantically as you love a “chum” or a blonde, or in a brotherly way, as we love our family members.
We are supposed to live with our enemies by being concerned about their interests and well-being. You do good to your enemies because you love God, the one who care about them and their well-being.
The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is based on what you would want others to do to you while on the contrary “love your enemies” is based on the way God deals with us as demonstrated in the life of Jesus himself.
The Lord is not asking too much of us. He is only telling us to be forgiving so we can receive forgiveness. In the Gospel of Luke, which we heard today, we are told “to be merciful, just as our heavenly Father is merciful.” Our goal as followers of Christ is to act in the same way God acts, which is to be merciful to everyone, even to our enemies.
Befriend your enemies as David did with King Saul. He had the opportunity to kill Saul who sought his life. Yet, he refused. Instead, David took Saul's water jar and spear to prove he was the best person. He was merciful. By doing this he changed the heart of Saul. Then Saul said to David, Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them. He started seeing the positive in David, being concerned about his well-being and made him great.
So what Jesus is asking us is difficult, but it’s not impossible, and it’s vital, too. Let us break the wall around our hearts, and love our enemies by doing good to them and make them great.