Jesus says: ‚Love your fellow man and hate your enemy! But I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.Matthew 5:43 & 44
This topic has been moving me for a long time: Love your enemies! In the media one often hears the keywords hate on the net, hate postings, xenophobia, hate crime, etc. The word hate is already used quite inflationary, partly up to the point that another opinion is not called opinion but just hate. I observe in social networks, media, in everyday life, with politicians, sometimes even with me, that things are getting more and more aggressive. In the anonymity of the world wide net, people write insulting comments that they would never dare say in „real“ life. Shitstorms are pounding on people on the net. Others are systematically pilloried or ridiculed. Bicyclists show car drivers the finger and vice versa. I myself witnessed when a man was approached who was walking through a red pedestrian light. He just said, „None of your business, you a…hole!“ And there were also children nearby. And so on.
Everyone knows examples. Probably everyone is bothered by that, too. I mean, who wants to be called an a…hole? Nobody. But many people behave so rudely. Despite the much-vaunted tolerance and cosmopolitanism. As soon as someone is different, has a different opinion or even makes a mistake, there are enough people who judge and then express their not so nice opinion.
My question to you: How do you feel about someone going against your grain, doing something wrong? How do you react?
What if this person even deliberately hits us so that he looks good in front of the boss and you don’t? What if your best friend steals your boyfriend? If someone posts a stupid comment about you on F…book or Tw…er or anywhere else? When you’re stuck in traffic, just „because those idiots up ahead can’t drive smart?“ When you are exposed? If something is taken away from you? When your stuff is destroyed by some other people?
Without question, all this is not nice. And not good either. It disturbs the living together between people immensely and leads from the dissolution of friendships to legal disputes and in extreme cases to murder.
How to react?
Shoot back. After all, I am somebody too. Have human dignity. And rights. Like you and me! An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth! That’s the way it looks! And that’s it! Boom! The end!
But Jesus says something completely different in Matthew 5: Love your enemies and pray for your enemies! Hands that are folded to pray cannot make fists and cannot carry a weapon… I find Jesus‘ statement very crass and it is not easy to put it into practice. I also have my favorite topics and people that I like to get upset about. But it should not be like that. We are supposed to do good to the people who want us to do evil.
What do I lose if I just keep my mouth shut when someone makes a stupid comment to me?
What do I lose if I let someone else take precedence, even if it was actually my turn?
What do I lose if I take a deep breath, calm down and then answer friendly?
What do I lose if I don’t take part in an agitation against some politician, but start to pray for him?
We are all people
This is an important point. We are all human beings. You, me, your neighbor, the local policeman, the tax officer who rejected your application for a tax refund, Mrs. Merkel, Mr. Trump, etc.
I find it helpful for me to be aware that my counterpart or even „enemy“ is also a sentient being with soul, conscience, mind, a life story and a loved one. That one can hurt him or her as well.
For example, people in Germany or Europe like to complain about the Americans, how stupid they are and what they do. But have any of these scolding people ever been to the USA? Do you know an American (especially since there is no such thing as „the American“) who lets a complete stranger spend the night at his place and then drives him to the next Greyhound station the next morning? I experienced that there.
Or the Russians? Who knows a Russian personally? I have been writing letters back and forth with a Russian woman for many years and so I have a little insight into the Russian everyday life. The worries and hardships are the same as everywhere. Love is the same everywhere. Everyone wants to be loved.
Because: They are all people!
Loved by God!
All people are loved by God. Therefore, we ourselves should have respect for our fellow men, practice charity and do good to those who do not like us or want us to do evil. This will not always be easy. But I think that if everyone would act as Jesus tells us, the world would be a much more beautiful place for all of us!