Love your enemies – Kris10 Cartoons
“Those who are good the sage treats with goodness. Those who are bad he also treats with goodness because the nature of his being is good.” (Tao Te Ching)
“…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Christian Bible – Matthew 5:44)
“Revere your enemies as you revere your parents.” (Buddhism – The Perfect Enlightenment Sutra”
“A superior being does not render evil for evil; this is a maxim one should observe…One should never harm the wicked or the good or even criminals meriting death. A noble soul will ever exercise compassion even towards those who enjoy injuring others or those of cruel deeds. (Hinduism – Ramayana)
“Requite evil with good and your worst enemy will become your dearest friend.” (Islamic Koran – Fussilat 41:34)
It seems that most, if not all religions, have some version of this teaching: requite evil with good; love your enemies.
According to a Washington Times article in 2012: ““Worldwide, more than eight-in-ten people identify with a religious group,” says a new comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.”
Have you ever considered what might happen if these 80% of the world’s population actually followed the teachings of their spiritual texts?
You might think that this is easier said than done. Would you change your mind if you knew that there have always been people who have demonstrated this idea of forgiveness? Even those who have suffered much more at the hands of their enemies than a stolen parking space or being looked at wrongly on the street.
I watched The Railway Man the other night, although I had to close my eyes during the worst of the violence. The movie related the story of Eric Lomax, who, after 50 years of anguish following his torture at the hands of the Japanese at the Kwai Bridge, returned there to forgive his worst enemy and finally find peace.
There is the story of Mary Foley, who forgave the girl who stabbed her 16 year old daughter to death. Also, the story of Jasna, a Bosnian who prays every day for God to forgive the men who raped her during the year that she was held as a prisoner to Serb soldiers, and 20 years later is still unable to speak of the things they did to her. There is the story of Zohar Shapira who realised after 16 years in the Israeli military, that the cycle of revenge between Israelis and Palestinians could only be arrested by extending the hand of peace. Or the Palestinian, Bassam Aramin, who remains a peace activist, even after watching his 10 year old daughter gunned down by an Israeli soldier.
These are not the stories we see on the nightly news. Our media seem intent on showing us life from the perspective of ‘outrage’, not of understanding and forgiveness.
Our governments seem intent on revenge rather than peace. Yet, don’t our leaders claim to be Christians?
How can a leader, who claims to be Christian (or of any of the other faiths, for that matter), send young men to fight and die in wars or to rot in prison cells?
What would happen if, after a time of reflection on their wrong-doing, people convicted of a crime were required to make restitution, not to the state, but to the victim of their crime? Might they not see the problems and pain that their actions had caused? Might not the victims have a chance to understand the reasons that the perpetrators committed the crime? And with understanding, forgiveness becomes possible but unnecessary.
What would happen if, instead of instilling their people with fear of terrorists, our leaders took the time to understand those labelled as terrorists and even began to talk with them?
What would happen if we all requited evil with good, if we loved our enemies, and prayed for those who persecuted us?