How to Love Your Enemy

Jesus calls us to love our enemies. This calling is not an easy thing to do at all. Though, this is something I am getting better at.

Now, before I begin, I want to say this is not a sure-fire way to learn to love your enemies. It may work for some people and for some it may not work. It may depend on the person’s disposition.

The way I have gotten a little better at loving my enemies is by praying for them and trying to understand why they did what they did. Loving is much easier when you forgive, and forgiveness is much easier to give once you have understanding. In understanding, you realize things aren’t black and white, and there is the shade of gray.

Now, forgiveness doesn’t have to be the first step. However, If you can simply pray for the person’s well-being and growth in the faith; you are likely going to develop good will for people. The practice may be very uncomfortable. From this uncomfortableness, you’ll grow and mature into it so that it becomes second nature to you to pray for people who have hurt you and hold malice for you. It is praying for them and wishing them well in my prayers that I have seemed to have formed the habit of loving my enemies. It helped me see beyond the black and white. And it helped me see beyond how what their actions affected me, and, also, how they might be just very confused or be in a bad situation themselves.

An essential point I want to mention is that this love is more of an act of will than emotion. It is something you will for. You may still hurt inside, but through your will you can want good for them and want what’s best for them.

It may take a while though. I may not hold malice for a girl at my university that slandered me and my reputation, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of her or wasn’t trying to avoid her. Though, my therapist told me I am not allowed to be around her physically or emotionally for my mental health.

Loving your enemies is definitely a process and something we have to work on. It’s definitely not something you’ll just wake up and have one day. You have to make a choice to start doing it and trying your best at it. You have to choose to love your enemy and from this choice you will grow more into that virtue with practice!

I want to wish all my followers a Happy good Friday and easter! I hope you have a great Holy Week!

Words Unsaid

Today I attended a funeral of a young girl named Nicole. I knew her from high school and we had played soccer together on the same teams for a few years. Watching the people there at the Lutheran church, I found I began to wonder how many people had left things unsaid and how those thoughts and feelings were never to be known by Nicole nor Nicole’s by others. It really reinforced my philosophy of never leaving things unsaid.

This philosophy was something I cultivated with my friendship with a certain boy I was good friends with. He was a sweet, caring, and different from other boys I had met. He seemed to always have sweet things to say and didn’t seem afraid to express the good things he really felt. I don’t think he ever has or will leave anything unsaid about what good he thinks of a person and how they affect him. It wasn’t until later after we had somewhat parted that I realized his words to people and the way he acted had taught me a great lesson. It was through him that I adopted the philosophy of embracing what I felt and letting people know just how much they mean to me. Maybe this way of living can be considered true honesty because you hold none of the good things back.

Even though I hold this principle, I can’t help but think of others and how they don’t embrace this humanity and heart we have. Instead, I find most people hide it and never say simply “Hey, you mean you a lot to me and have changed my life and taught me to be a better person. You’re a really genuine person.” They keep it inside and never say what they feel and how having someone in their life affected them. I think that’s such a waste in a way. It’s like we walk around with masks on. Hiding behind them by leaving things unsaid and not revealing this innate commonalty we share of being human– having feelings, experiences, and growing. We all have it. why don’t we embrace it and remove the masks we wear?

Blessed Mother Teresa said,”We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love” and from my experience of having that boy, Brad, in my life the things he said would make me smile and show me sight from his eyes. Proverbs 16:24 says, “gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” We can love in small ways everyday by our words and especially with sharing our heart with a person about the good things they do and what we think of them. Now love is not just saying nice things, but is also a verb and needs action too, however I will touch on that sometime later in another post. From my perspective, it’s always been pleasing to my soul to make my friends smile and when I don’t leave things unsaid I’m able to show people their value. And the experiences and lessons you learned from that person also end up benefiting them by showing them how they have impacted your life. As a side note, using words is not the end all be all of showing love, there are many ways to show love. Sometimes words are not enough, and can be expressed through another outlet.

Basically my concluding thoughts are don’t stay quiet about how you feel. If you appreciate someone in your life tell them. If you are proud of someone tell them. If you are worried for someone say it. You have time now to say things and when they leave or die they will never know how you truly feel or saw in them and I think that’s such a shame. In addition, those words can be good encouragement for a person. Whether people want to admit it or not, words are a powerful thing. That also means it can go either way too with how you use your words, good or bad, so I’ll leave you with this, Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”