Sunday, June 7, 2009

Loving Your Enemies...

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13, NAB

In these modern times, it is essential that we come to understand that disagreements and misunderstandings cannot be solved through the use of violence or force. Just this past week I have heard many distressing news stories and reports of violence or threatened violence, all for the sake of a personally held belief or ideology, or the mistaken belief that it was the will of God.

It may be that God will ordain love between you and those whom you hold as enemies. For God has power over all things; and God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Islam. Qur'an 60.7

Have you ever heard the old adage, "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?" Humility and gentleness of spirit, kind words exchanged respectfully, and peaceful activities will do more to get the desired result than any act of violence or anger ever could. God's way is the way of peace and humility.

Do good to him who has done you an injury. Taoism. Tao Te Ching 63

God said, "Resemble Me; just as I repay good for evil so do you also repay good for evil." Judaism. Exodus Rabbah 26:2

God's way is the Way of Love. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus instructs us to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." In Romans 12:14, Paul tells us to "bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not". He continues on in Romans 12:19 with, "Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord."

Conquer anger by love. Conquer evil by good. Conquer the stingy by giving. Conquer the liar by truth. Buddhism. Dhammapada 223

According to the teachings of Hinduism found in the Ramayana, "A superior being does not render evil for evil; this is a maxim one should observe; the ornament of virtuous persons is their conduct. One should never harm the wicked or the good or even criminals meriting death. A noble soul will ever exercise compassion even toward those who enjoy injuring others or those of cruel deeds when they are actually committing them -- for who is without fault?"

The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo!, he between whom and you there was enmity shall become as though he were a bosom friend.
Islam. Qur'an 41.34

Revenge, or returning evil for evil, only serves to multiply evil in the world. Indian political and spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi, once said "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". Do not be overcome by evil, as the Bible says, but overcome evil with good. This is the way of love and serves to spread goodness in the world. Love is the Way of God.

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