Originally posted by Ghost of a Duke
Okay, this thread could go down like a moldy cabbage, and i may never recover from the flack.
We all clash with certain people in these forums who rub us up the wrong way. (Sometimes on a daily, if not hourly basis). Indeed some clashes are the stuff of legend and it's difficult to think of some posters uncoupled from their mutual antagonist (s). ...[text shortened]... say something positive.
Will post my own positive comments after some further consideration.
I don’t think loving your enemy means saying (or even thinking) nice things about them, or searching for redeeming qualities. But I was struck by the title of the thread, and have recently been exploring such questions from a Christic (and New Testament) point of view.
The best short statement I think that I have heard, couched in terms of forgiveness, was this: Relinquishing my right to revenge. And both the Greek words translated as “forgiveness” (aphiemi
) mean to set free, to release, to let go (in fact, in other Greek writings, both words have been used to refer to divorce).
Now, I might not find anything that I can like about an enemy, or think of anything to say good about them. Or, maybe I can—but it seems to me to be so trivial compared to the rest of what I don’t like. But, at the same time, not liking someone does not make them my enemy. A threat to the well-being of myself and my loved ones—or even to someone that I believe to be an innocent target—that’s what makes someone my enemy. I might pray for them—but not for their mission of harm. I might pray for them—but I will protect myself and others (I am not a pacifist).
Now, pre-emptive stuff is where it gets dangerous: suppose that I decide that a threat is imminent, and I decide to pre-empt it by destroying my perceived enemy. That involves some difficult decisions, and the distinct possibility of error. Nevertheless, I don’t dismiss it out of hand.
So, I can make errors—even in efforts at self- (and other- ) protection. Setting that aside, then: I relinquish my right to revenge. And, further, if I see my putative enemy drowning, I will not only not push her/his head under the water—I will hopefully truly to save them. That would be agape
, a bit beyond even aphiemi
Now, technically, I have no enemies on here. I might have adversaries vis-à-vis this or that issue. There are people that—at least in terms of their RHP persona—I don’t like very much. Even some of them I have probably complimented a time or two on something that they’ve said, or something about themselves that has been revealed. But that is spontaneous.
I often end a post, or series of posts, in response to another with the words: “Be well.” If I don’t say it, it doesn’t mean that the thought is not there (and, usually, I say it at what appears to be the terminus of a particular conversation). There is no one on here from whom I withhold that “Be well”.