A Valentine for the Enemy

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“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?”

Matthew 5:44, 46

Central to the message of Jesus is the subject of the kingdom of God. Scriptural evidence strongly supports that he understood this kingdom as a subjective experience, that the kingdom of God is within the individual (Luke 17:21). Because this is true, he placed much emphasis on the need to keep people free of mental and emotional attachments. Resentment toward others can bind us in ways of which we are not aware.

How do we love a person we consider an enemy? First, we look at how we think of love. Do we see love as a basket of rose petals that we toss toward those we favor and withhold from those we do not? Because the basket is only so full, we take care to toss our petals only to the deserving.

Love, however, is not a thing we do. Love is a fundamental aspect of our being. As such, love is not limited to the basket of rose petals we carry. Love is a universal and perpetual action that draws to us that which is for our highest good and dissolves that which is not.

To love and pray for someone you are not fond of is to affirm for them this action of love. Hold them in your thought and declare: Love draws to you that which is for your highest good and dissolves that which is not. There is no greater blessing you can give. It frees you from the belief that love is something you must do. Love itself is doing its perfect work.

In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that the Father “… makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” He is pointing to the unconditional nature of God. He concludes this section by saying, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” In other words, behave in this same unconditional manner.

We do not deplete ourselves when we give the blessing of love to another. Doing so, in fact, is one aspect of the truth that sets us free.

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