LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; Be not overcome of evil; but overcome evil with good, Romans 12:21.

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy,” was a maxim amongst those who lived before the precepts and example of our Savior had taught mankind a higher and holier system of morals. … But this maxim should be wholly discarded by the Christian, and in its stead he should substitute the injunction of our Lord— “I say unto you love your enemies, etc.”

It is an easy task to love those who love us; to be courteous to those who treat us with courtesy, but this will not satisfy the demands of that law which Christ has enjoined on his disciples. Do you then profess to be a Christian? Have you acknowledged Christ to be the Savior of sinners—your Savior? … Then let it be your care to acquire or cultivate the disposition here enjoined. If you have bitter envyings and strife in your heart; if you are ready to resent every insult, to revenge every injury; if you even wish the unhappiness of those who have offended you, an essential attribute of Christian character is wanting; you are deficient in the most important point of Christian sentiment. Do not then deceive yourself or others, by enumerating the various other good qualities for which others may commend, or your own conscience may approve you. If you cannot forgive the greatest injury, you have not fully imbibed the spirit of the gospel.… Indeed he whose heart has been softened and humbled by a consciousness of his own sins, and filled with gratitude, for the mercy displayed in the gospel, will not only freely forgive, but sincerely pity those whom ignorance, passion, or malice has incited to injure or offend him. It is impossible for such an one to cherish hostile feelings towards any human being and though great provocation may excite a temporary emotion of indignation or resentment, the agitation will soon subside, calm reflection will remove it entirely, and a generous compassion will arise in its stead towards those who are so wretched as to live under the dominion of selfish and malignant passion.

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