“It took me a long time to learn that God is not the enemy of my enemies. He is not even the enemy of His enemies.” Martin Niemöller
“The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ – all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself – that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness – that I myself am the enemy who must be loved – what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us ‘Raca,’ and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.” Carl Jung
“Do not try to settle the dust. …Do not seek a glib, quick answer, but leave all things for a while in the silent space. Do not rush to judgment. That is what it really means that God alone is the judge. …If you start with no, which is critiquing, judging, pigeonholing, analyzing, dismissing, it is very hard to get back to yes. You must learn to start every single encounter with a foundational yes, before you ever dare to move to no. That is the heart of contemplation … a beginner’s mind. It will always be silent before it dares to speak.” Richard Rohr
“But I say to you, love your enemies”
Jesus in Matthew 5:44
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Knowing the worst about yourself, condemning and raging against it, being unable to forgive it (even though God does) – this is “the essence of the whole moral problem” – for if you can’t love the enemy within, how can you love the enemy from without?
- Do you understand that God is not the enemy of your enemies? …that the all-too common fear and hatred you feel towards enemies is foreign to God – repugnant to God – prohibited for you?
- In a world gone mad, are you able to let the dust settle, step back in silence, and contemplate before you judge?
Abba, may I love my “enemies” in this world, just as you do.
For More: Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr
If you found this encouraging, challenging or thought-provoking, please share it! And thanks much! – Bill