Loving your enemy constitutes the nucleus of the Christian revolution. If we reflect on this theme, a revolution is not based on strategies of economic, political or media power. The revolution of love is a love that does not rely ultimately on human resources but the revolution of love is a gift of God which is obtained by trusting solely and unreservedly in his merciful goodness.
When we think about the clear instruction of Jesus that we are to love our enemies, we have to ask ourselves a very difficult question: if I love someone, how can I then say that they are my enemy? As we are all called to be people of forgiveness and mercy, we also notice that there is a big difference between forgiveness (the conscious choice to overlook the hurt and not to be controlled by the situation or individual who has hurt us) and reconciliation (which is a total healing of broken relationships, a sort of “beginning again,” as it were).
Though, these are difficult lessons, especially for those who have suffered much. The way of making others pay for our pain, loss, or disappointment is a way to try to ease hurt feelings. At times we recognize that reconciliation is not always possible or even healthy (especially when one have been abused or exploited), Jesus invites us all to forgive and to seek a way forward, together. We might say that when we refuse to forgive, it means that we’re choosing to remain in the pain, allowing the past to dominate our present.
In order words, we have to look to the model of Jesus, especially if we find ourselves challenged by the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation. What would it mean for you to pray for those who hurt you or have caused you pain? Can you ask God to favor them? Would you want God to treat you in the same way that you treat others? Ask the Lord to help you rise to a place of forgiveness.
Have a reflection on the difference between reconciliation and forgiveness and ask the Lord to help you open your heart to the possibility of reconciliation, for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
If anybody should ask you what are the most radical words in the gospel, you don’t need to hesitate to reply: ‘Love your enemies.’ It is these words that revealed clearly to us the kind of love proclaimed by Jesus. In these words, we have the perfect expression of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.