Often times, whenever I read the national news, I find myself thinking We seem to have a lot of enemies. I read reports about conflict in the Middle East, about one world leader turning on another, about governments poisoning themselves from the inside out. The enmity and animosity is shocking. And it is not just in the national news. We have a fear of certain neighborhoods because they are “bad”. We wonder about certain family members, because they seem to oppose us. We fight in our own churches and community organizations, because other people resist our ideas and options. Enemies seem to be everywhere! But the funny thing about enemies is they are often manufactured. They are often created by our own anger.
Our culture right now seems to be in a stance of enemy making. We assume everyone is out to get us, and we try to get them first instead. The offensive strike, the aggressive stance, the never-backing-down, it seems to get all the press. Enemy making has taken over our collective imagination. We look across the aisle and see enemies, we look across the street and see enemies, sometimes we even look across the dinner table and see an enemy. But are they real? Or are all these enemies’ ones we have created? What if instead of seeing enemies, we saw fellow children of God? What if instead of assuming the worst, we assumed the best?
It would be counter-cultural, to assume the best. It could even be revolutionary. It could mean we would have to stop participating in manufacturing enemies, and instead build bridges. In Luke 6, Jesus says Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. In that whole chapter Jesus has a lot more tips and tricks for how to love enemies. Christ commands us to love our enemies, because when we do, they don’t stay enemies for long. Enemies turn into sisters and brothers. And when we start to see others in the world as our sisters and brothers, as fellow children of God, we find our anger and fear slip away. We find our anger and fear replaced with love. Love is the antidote to fear and doubt and strife. Love is what we are offered in Christ. A life of love is what we are called to live.