How can you “love” those who hate you, persecuted you, killed your child, left you for another, betrayed you in business, stole from you, lied to you, falsely accused you, made fun of you, ridiculed you, talked about you behind your back, hurt you, deceived you, unjustly persecuted you or abandoned you?
Being able to “love your enemies” is the greatest miracle.
“Turning the other cheek” is said to be hard to do.
People say, “I will forgive, but I will never forget.”
That is not “forgiving”, nor is that “loving your enemies” nor “turning the other cheek”.
So, let’s not start with trying to “love your enemies, love those who hate you and persecute you”. That is like taking a 6-year-old and saying “Even though you have never touched a piano before, today you are going to learn to play a Mozart Symphony”.
We all have to start small. Start at the beginning. Take baby steps.
So start at a place where you can build on it. The journey of 1000 miles, starts with but a single step.
Start at step one, the first “level” of “loving or forgiving”.
The first level is to understand the distinction between the action and the actor. The deed and the doer of the deed. The person, and what the person “did”.
The first step is to be able to “criticize the performance, but still praise the performer”.
You can “hate the performance” but still “love the performer”.
Start there. Delineate the “actions” from the “person” doing the actions.
Try to get to the point where you can agree that if you judge that what a person did was “bad” or “wrong”, and even their “intentions” could have been “evil”, the person is still in fact, deep down inside, “good”.
You can perhaps get to this point by looking at yourself.
Have YOU ever committed an act that could be judged as “bad” or “wrong”?
Have YOU ever said something to someone because you actually WANTED to hurt them?
Have YOU ever betrayed someone, lied to someone, stole from someone, was dishonest with someone, spread gossip about someone, falsely accused someone, cheated on someone, or made up things about someone?
Think about this. The fact is we ALL have committed “overt” acts that most could judge to be “bad” or “wrong”.
Are YOU evil? Or are you basically, deep down inside, “good”?
Are you “sorry” for the “bad” things you did in your past?
Should people give you the benefit of the doubt?
Should people be “understanding” when they judge you?
Should people “forgive” you?
Should people still “love” you?
Think about these things.
How do YOU want to be treated by others in relation to your “bad” thoughts, words, and deeds?
Perhaps you could be a little less condemning, or judgmental of others, because I am sure you want others to be less condemning and judgmental of you.
The greatest Master who ever lived was asked what to do with the woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery. The punishment was stoning to death. The Master said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”.
Everyone dropped their stones and walked away. We are ALL “guilty” of committing “sins”.
So maybe right now, you can’t “Love your enemies” or love everyone that did horrible things to you.
Take baby steps.
Be a little more understanding, a little more compassionate, a little less judgmental. Remember, only if you are without sin yourself, should you condemn another.
If you can’t “love” those “evil people” who said and did terrible things to you, and can’t totally “forgive and forget”, try at least to let things go a little bit. Take baby steps. Release your anger, hate, and condemnation at least a little bit.
Remember the axiom: What you condemn in others, is really how you see yourself.
While today you might not be able to fully “forgive” everyone, love your enemies, and “love those who hate and persecute you”, at least be a little less critical, judgmental, and condemning. Just a little less. One step at a time.
As the Master also said, “Why do you point out the splinter in your brother’s eye, when you have a log in your own eye?”
Try love. Try seeing everyone as an expression of God. Open your heart. The world will reflect back to you what you put out.
I love you all without condition and without exception. It is easy and natural once you “let go” of your fear.