'Love your enemies'

Certainly Christ Jesus' teachings are revolutionary!

''Love your enemies'' n1 is a simple saying, and yet it requires a whole new perspective, a departure from conventional thinking.

Matthew 5:44.

Jesus demonstrated this rule in his remarkable healing career. He overcame every threat of hatred against him - even the attempt to silence him by death.

Studying Jesus' teachings and works, one can see that ''Love your enemies'' is a realistic demand for living, and its power is in healing. To obey this precept isn't to naively place ourselves in a position of vulnerability. Nor is it merely to grit our teeth and steel ourselves to bear injustice. Rather, it's to heal the selfishness, hatred, and insecurity that breed animosity.

The New Testament teaching that God is Love and that we are the sons and daughters of divine Love was in sharp contrast to ancient traditions of a national, tribal god who demanded ''an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'' n2

See Mathew 5:38.

Perhaps the spiritual demand to ''bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you'' n3 contrasts just as starkly with twentieth century materialism. Yet the love of which Jesus spoke is natural, because it proceeds from an understanding of God as divine Principle, infinite Love itself. To love our enemies, then, is to live in accord with - and demonstrate - the very Principle of our being and of the universe. It's not merely a commendable thing to do. Loving in the way Jesus did expresses a universal law of harmony, which, when practiced, transcends the time-honored prejudices of the carnal mind.

n3 Matthew 5:44

What about us? We could say, ''That was Jesus. Should we be expected to love as he loved and get the results he did?''

Why not? This is what he promised those who believed in him! n4 One who wants to take a radically spiritual stand to love his enemies will be able to find a practical way to start doing this if he begins by acknowledging God as infinite, indivisible Love, and man and woman as God's beloved children.

n4 See John 14:12.

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, met with great opposition, even cruel injustice, in pursuing her goal of spiritual teaching and healing. Letters and reminiscences documenting this period of her life show that she responded to such attacks with patience, love, and forgiveness.

She wrote a remarkable article called ''Love Your Enemies.'' In it she says: ''Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect.'' And she says further on, '' 'Love thine enemies' is identical with 'Thou hast no enemies.' '' n5

n5 Miscellaneous Writings,m pp. 8-9.

However difficult it may sometimes seem to grasp this, we are not being asked to love a disagreeable mortal, but rather to respond to and love the true identity of that individual as the child of God. And really, isn't this much better than falling into the trap of believing one has enemies, and disliking or even hating them?

The divine Principle of the universe is Love. The more we deeply and prayerfully acknowledge this and live according to it, the more we'll experience good results. And in so doing, we'll prove that love is the fulfilling of the law. When you love your enemies (and thus prove that you have no enemies), a small bit of war in the world will be snuffed out for lack of fuel, and Christliness will have prepared the ground for love and harmony to govern - and spread. Peace throughout the world will have been forwarded by your revolutionary spiritual loving! DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good Romans 12:21

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