Dreamers of the Day

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible." -T.E. Lawrence, "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Love Your Enemies I

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matt. 5:43


This past week, the subject "Loving Enemies" has inadvertently entered my mind through an interesting detour. In thinking of a different subject, I was approached with the questions: “What does loving your enemy mean?” Continuing this thought, the question: “Who are my enemies”, came about. So I pondered these questions…

Before I continue, I want to talk about “greater” and “lesser.” Each term in my world determines a statistic or an amount of something. This something can be immaterial or material. However, many times in the immaterial I can deceive myself into thinking it can be measured. Take faith for instance. I do not believe my faith increases, but my revelation of what I have my faith in increases. Through difficult situations, my faith in God does not increase, but the revelation of my faith in other things such as myself, or my parents, is reduced considerably. My faith is refined, but is not increased. The love of God is the same thing. It does not increase or decrease with material actions, but is measured immaterially. It is measure infinitely. I am hesitant to use “greater” or “lesser” theologically, but in material actions and subjects, it is much easier to use.

Another term I would like to define is the opposite of enemy—a friend. A friend is one whom relates to you. One can accept one’s friend, warts and all. One can believe or trust in a friend, because they are trustworthy. One can confront or discipline a friend, because the love for each other is great. Friends are different than enemies because of love. And enemy could give you a drink, but if they are an enemy, there is no love and there is no trust. The drink could be poisoned. A friend’s drink is taken without hesitation (unless you live in a fraternity). It is the immaterial that makes the material different. A friend is someone that can be hurt, but the wound is viewed as discipline instead of an attack. A friend is a person who is interested in the life of a person, not the death of them. They are not cheerleaders who fill the air with flattery. They are teammates and teammates get angry with each other. They are not concerned with image, but identity and want the same for their friends. A friend, first and foremost, is a human at its greatest definition.

Who is my enemy? When I think of my enemies, no one or nothing comes to mind immediately. I am a nice guy and rarely get in fights. I do have the occasionally bought with the obnoxious Indiana University fans, the New England Patriot fans or the Ohio State fans. But none of these come close to the fans of Notre Dame. I literally hate Norte Dame. Moving away from the sports world, I seldom get upset or irate over any topic. It is hard to distinguish from true enemies or people I am angry with. For instance, drivers on the road who cannot, for the life of them, drive according to Dallas, Texas driving standards, anger me. Are they my enemy? No, because they are doing it out of ignorance, not motives (most of the time). An enemy would be one who attacks me intentionally. Reviewing the verse again, I cannot help but rank my enemies as well as my friends. Using the greater and lesser helps me evaluate the situation through justice. Enemies and friends are determined by material actions, thus using “greater” and “lesser” now comes into play…

11 Comments:

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Trey said...

This is an intriguing thought process. I'm really interested to see where we end up in "Love Your Enemies II." Your thoughts on defining a friend were nice; it's an important distinction that a friend isn't someone who always aligns with you, but rather someone who's always looking out for you spiritually, whether that means they side with you or against you.

Now, I do have some questions regarding the end of the post. And, granted, the end of this post will naturally lead into the 2nd post, so I may be jumping the gun here. Sorry, if that's the case...

Anyway, when you say you can't help but rank your friends and your enemies, I agree that human nature pushes us in that direction. And, I also agree that material actions are the main way by which we make those rankings.

However, instead of embracing those rankings by evaluating individuals on a greater than/less than comparison, doesn't the verse allude to the fact that there shouldn't be any kind of comparison at all? As you mentioned, friends already share a bond of love. So, by also loving your enemies, doesn't that "level the playing field," essentially blurring the boundaries between friend and enemy, and diminishing the importance of differentiating between the two? Unconditional love to all, period. I mean, it's easier said than done, certainly, but isn't that the goal?

 
At 5:20 AM, Blogger christian said...

"I seldom get upset or irate over any topic."

I laughed when I read that.

 
At 5:21 AM, Blogger christian said...

And, what time zone do you live in?

 
At 5:28 AM, Blogger christian said...

I'm also interested to see what's up in #2, if you're still going to post it. I think Trey raises a good point, but I would say the point of tension between the two thoughts is not so great yet that it would nullify the continuing of your story from #1.

Going along with Trey, I think there is the possibility to say, "This person is a greater enemy than someone else. Therfore, I must do more to love them." However, such a perspective does seem to put the ball "in your court" almost regardless of how you look at it.

Sure, you can say, "No, that situation means that I have to 'die' to myself that much more for God's love to come through with them." However, such an acknowledgement means that for "lesser enemies" - you will need less of God's help to love them. Which means, you can do it on your own.

Granted, I know this isn't the line of reasoning you are hoping to expose, but, at least from a philosophical perspective, I would think the use of greater and lesser here implies a connection to your abilities and God's abilities, when I think the focus is, all love comes from God, thus we must fully be in submission to Him for any love to come out to anyone.

But, again, I don't yet know where your story is headed, so feel free to proceed at will.

 
At 5:32 AM, Blogger christian said...

"fully." I might recant that word and just say we have to be in submission, in general. If we had to be "fully" submitted to God for love to come out...no one would even be able to love anyone, and I don't believe we live in the midst of that situation, though "true" love (agape) is not always a given.

 
At 6:00 AM, Blogger Jen said...

Hmmmmmmm.....I really want to comment here and I actually have a lot of questions (yes yes you are rubbing off on me ;) but I think I will await your Part 2 before I jump to conclusions. :)

Until recently...I never really knew you were such a ND hater...I mean all the years you went to Purdue I don't remember that being discussed. Or maybe I wasn't listening.... :) The point is that I STILL think that when cheering for sport teams, the teams in the same STATE should trump other teams. Hands down...

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Trey said...

Oh, I agree with Christian that nothing I said should prevent you from posting the continuation to your thought. I certainly didn't intend for my comment to cut you off, or anything like that. I hope that's not what happened.

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Creth said...

Jen,

Jason just hates Catholics.

sincerely,
Baptist

 
At 8:14 AM, Blogger Creth said...

as for this post... I'm gonna need some time to read the entire post (and hopefully part II) as well as the many lengthy comments... maybe this will be my evening's portion?.

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger Emily said...

yes...I'm interested to read the second part in this series (Ha! You're like Ed. Without all the cool graphics and whatnot)

 
At 6:40 AM, Blogger Creth said...

I guess before I move on in the "works of Jason" I must say-

I love what you have said about faith and love, what we have incorrectly labeled "increase" when truly our knowledge of them (what always existed) now we have received a new revelation of them, is only what has "increased"

and "greater or lesser"

aren't we always quick to value and "measure" than describe or (even) understand?

 

Post a Comment

<< Home