13 January 2015

enemies, miscreants, and other nasty people

Holding a grudge becomes a heavy burden.

“When we are free from the need to judge or condemn, we can become safe places for people to meet in vulnerability and take down the walls that separate them.  Being deeply rooted in the love of God, we cannot help but invite people to love one another.  When people realize that we have no hidden agendas or unspoken intentions, that we are not trying to gain any profit for ourselves, and that our only desire is for peace and reconciliation, they may find the inner freedom and courage to leave their guns at the door and enter into conversation with their enemies.” (Henri Nouwen)

Don’t kid yourself; we are surrounded by enemies—enemies within and enemies without.  Jesus is onto something when he says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

It can be a tall order to pray for one’s enemies, to wish them good and not harm.  It very often takes more than we have.  But when we’re able to actually pray for our enemies, it has a way of taking away the fun of hating them.  Loving your enemies helps take away the knee-jerk sting, the tightening in the chest, when we see them.  And crazily enough, we might actually find ourselves doing good for them!

We can leave our guns at the door.

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