Love Your Enemies
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
I am not going to sit here and tell you that loving your enemies is the easiest thing in the world. Nor am I going to say that it is even always easy to identify who your enemies really are. So in order to make this easier, I am going to say that for your own sake, I advise being the love that you are and the love that you would like to receive. The fact is that everyone wants to be loved. And yet there is an epidemic of people among us with closed hearts who fear allowing them to receive the very love they are asking for. They do not want to be vulnerable to future hurts. Of course this can make logical sense when you’ve been through a lot. Believe me, I know. But what happens when we do this is that we end up feeling guilt and/or shame because we are subconsciously–if not consciously–aware that we are interrupting the flow of our receiving. From there, we accept the false belief that we are unlovable and yet somehow a part of us knows that infinite love is our birthright. Clearly holding this paradox can be crazy making if you don’t have support. And so what many of us do is lash out in a variety of ways at the world that we experience as robbing us of our birthright. These people become bullies. I see bullies as people who are trying to force the world to give them what they think they deserve, but are too afraid to ask for. It doesn’t matter if it is approval, attention, respect, or whatever. But ultimately it all goes back to love. They are starving for love.
Surprisingly, the etymology or root of the word bully is literally lover from the Dutch word boel which means lover, or brother. So how does a word that meant lover or brother deteriorate to the meaning of a person who preys on seemingly weaker people. Well to me, it happens the same way innocent children who are embodiments of love itself deteriorate into beings who clamor for it and live as if love is in short supply when actually it is the stuff all of life is made of. As I see it, what happens is that we get attached–and naturally so–to people, places, cultures, concepts, thoughts, etc that we believe have the power to validate us, define who we are, and estimate our value. The more convinced we become of this, the more difficult it is to see the truth of who we are–what I mentioned in the video. We know something is wrong with this feeling, but we cannot put our finger on it. And so we wrestle at varying degrees with trying to get back to our core being.
Bully shifting is about returning to the love we are and not putting these starving people in the position to validate our existence. You can never hate yourself enough to shift a person who hates themselves even more than they hate you. But if you love yourself, they cannot take anything from you and if they are open even a little, you may be able to demonstrate to that person the possibility that they can love themselves as well. This might sound like another kind of BS, but as I said in the video, I have experienced it firsthand.
Now let me say that there are some clinically disturbed people for whom the best example can do little to nothing. I am not denying that. Ultimately what I am saying is that loving yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself, the love starved bully, and for the world at large. There is so much more I could say about this. I am aware that it is a complicated and very sensitive topic. If you’d like to hear more or have other insights I’m open. Just understand that I am not recommending being all lovey dovey with people who have decided to be jerks. I am saying that your value cannot be determined by someone who does not even know their own value. And that doesn’t matter who it is. Teach them your worth by knowing it yourself. We are of infinite value. Some of us just don’t know it consciously yet. But when we do, we will experience a very different world.
The love I am honors the love you are.
1 John 3:1-3
What Wondrous Love!
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.