How Do We Love Enemies?

In the fifty-fifth Psalm, in his heartfelt outpouring of his sorrows, and of his trust in God, the Psalmist might well have been describing the experience of many another troubled one. He mourned in his complaint "because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked" who hated him. He longed for "wings like a dove," for then he would fly away and be at rest. And as he more closely scanned his sorrows, he said that it was not an enemy that reproached him, for then he could have borne it; "but it was thou," he said, "a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance." He recalled mournfully how they had taken counsel and walked into the house of God together. Yet he determined constantly to call upon God, for God alone could deliver him from the battle that was against him. And then came to him the comforting assurance, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."

Is not this experience similar to the struggle with fear and grief which, for many, has darkened the heart and the outlook? Indeed, woven into the belief of existence as material is this false sense of enmity. And, as the Psalmist found, the certain release from this oppressive condition is in casting one's burden on the Lord, in trusting in Him, in confiding all one's experience to the sustaining, all-conquering Love which is Life. It would seem that goodness and purity, entertained in one's thinking and living, should protect one from having so-called enemies, but on another occasion the Psalmist prayed, "Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; . . . wherewith thine enemies have reproached . . . the footsteps of thine anointed."

Faith, Understanding, Love
July 19, 1941

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