Friday, March 10, 2017

On loving your enemies

The Office of Readings for today has a great reading on loving your enemies by Saint Aelred, abbot. I've always had great difficulty with the notion of loving your enemy.

As I was reading it, it suddenly hit me that two people I have lately had trouble with are, in fact, enemies. They are not enemies by my choice but by their choice. They have attacked me for years now and, a few months after each attack, come back and re-established "friendship". And I, like Charlie Brown when Lucy offers t hold the football, have cheerfully readmitted them. That won't happen again.

I'll forgive them and do my best to forget this latest affront. But I'll have nothing more to do with them. They aren't friends because they don't act like friends even when they aren't being jerks.

Not surprisingly, Aelred gives Jesus as the exemplar of how to love your enemies. I won't pretend to even come close to him in terms of forgiveness but it struck me as I read the piece that Jesus never made the mistake of thinking his enemies to be friends. He asked that they be forgiven and even suggested that they only did what they did because of a misunderstanding but nowhere in the gospels does he pretend they are his friends.

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