Enemy or ‘enemy’?

She pulled out a 3×5 card and laid it on my desk. It said, “So love the people who 1) hate me or 2) hate my people or 3) are hate incarnate. Is that what enemies are?”

“That’s a great way to summarize it,” I said. “So, do you have anyone?”

“Actually,” she said, “I think I do.”

“Can I push a little bit,” I asked. “It’s not just someone that ticks you off?”

“How is that different?”

I leaned back. “Ah. Because they may not hate you, you may hate them. Or may be jealous of them. Or you may have had a bad day and be grumpy and think that everyone is out to get you. In that case, we aren’t talking enemies. We’re talking ‘enemies.’ People we don’t like.”

She thought for a minute. “So what do I do if that’s the case?”

“Go back to yesterday’s question. You asked what Jesus meant when he said to love your enemies. What if you started to work on loving your ‘enemies’, the people that you don’t like. Got one?”

She folded her arms. “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that question. It’s kind of a trap, right? You are going to make me say a name and then I’m going to have to send them flowers or hug them or something.”

I laughed. “I thought about it,” I said, “But that would be mean. I want you to pick a name of someone you find annoying. Not an archenemy or someone out to destroy your reputation. Just someone you find annoying.”

She relaxed a little. “I’ve got someone.”

“Here’s your homework,” I said. “On the back of that card, write one annoying thing they do and then write, ‘But it’s not a reason to hate them.’”

She scowled at me. “See, it is a trap. You gave me homework.”

“But you asked the question,” I said. “See you tomorrow.”

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Loving Enemies: a conversation

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

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