Friday, June 12, 2009

Our enemies are images of God

Thou shalt not hate.
God is Love.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Many times, we escape our Christian duty to love our neighbors as ourselves by reasoning that we don’t have to like our neighbor – which, maybe, is true – we just have to love them. We don’t have to have warm feelings about everyone. It’s not our feelings that count – feelings change – emotional states are not as significant as moral states. So goes our reasoning.

Above all, we should love God. It is only in loving God that we can love our neighbors and our enemies. Love is self-sacrifice for the sake of the beloved.

But should we like God? – not just love Him, but like Him? We cheapen love if we say no. A child understands that “liking” is less than “loving.” Love is the important thing. Love is the commandment. But can we love whom we dislike? Does love have liking as it’s foundation?

Whether or not it is necessary, it is Good to like God - to nurture warm feelings and not just give Him some abstract love – to give Him personal affection. It is important to have affection for God. It may even be necessary.

And if it is necessary to have affection for God, then it is necessary to have affection for our enemies. Affection – warm feelings – for those who hate us. Why? – because our enemies are images of God.

Our enemies are images of God. Our enemies are images of God.

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