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HolyGround >> Love your enemies


9/23/10 3:46 PM
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Grakman
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 What does it mean to you, and if you believe it, how do you implement it in your life?
9/25/10 5:44 AM
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jimmy23
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Loving those who are your enemies, or have harmed you, does not mean laying down or pacifism. But (speaking just from my experience) hate will eat you up inside, it will tie you to the object of your hate just as surely as love will. It will limit your responses to them and the situations they are involved in, and it will bleed its poison into every aspect of your life. Loving your enemies is about freeing yourself. 

How do I implement it? In internal dialogue, I forgive them, then I pray for them to have peace and love. And i release them and myself .  It can be a long process, repeated often, in some situations. But the more I do it, the better my life is. 
9/25/10 6:22 PM
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Ridgeback
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 I think CS Lewis covered this pretty well.  Since we are called to love our enemies as we love ourselves I think it means not simply overlooking the bad things that our enemies do, but rather wishing for their ultimate good and salvation and making a point of not behaving to them in a way that contradicts those outcomes.  Also, as GK Chesterton pointed out, Jesus commanded his followers to love their enemies, not to have no enemies.  

And as Jimmy points out, hatred for another person is existential suicide.  That is why Christianity teaches that you can't expect to be in communion with God and hate your brother at the same time.  
9/26/10 9:38 PM
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reverend john
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I think it means to try and seek their best interest in this world and the next, to be kind, patient, hopeful, not looking for wrongs, bearing with them and always holding them up to Jesus. It means uplifting their humanity, and showing them their inhumanity when necessary even by laying down your own life for them if necessary.

Practicing this has so far meant trying to be forgiving, doing good to them when possible, and praying for them. I find it most difficult with the people I label as "religious leaders" as I find the most justification for my anger towards them in the gospels. It seems to me that my violence is still very much my natural reaction, and I need to be overwhelmed by Gods love

rev
9/27/10 8:11 AM
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jimmy23
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 it is a process Rev, not a destination


you are only human, so dontget too down on yourself when you fall short of perfection
9/27/10 8:59 AM
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Joe Ray
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Such a commandment is revered by the Christian faith and tradition precisely because it is so contradictory to human instinct.

One's enemies deserve animosity.
9/27/10 9:15 AM
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Joe Ray
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"For Nietzsche, the desire for a worthy opponent perhaps exceeds that which motivates brotherhood or even romantic love. Through one’s true enemy an individual has access to eternal conflict, the conduit through which one obtains strength and, more importantly, creates; it is in one’s best interests, therefore, to preserve his enemy, and the creative relationship produced by the battle therewith. Such a paradoxical relationship of opposition and reliance in many ways resembles that of intense, honest love. In this respect, Nietzsche’s sense of hatred for one’s true enemy is a kind of love, a synthesis of two eternal and opposing wills. "

.....Thus, the only appropriate reason to love one's enemy is because it provides one with an opportunity to overcome resistance for growth and to become stronger, not because you harbour selfless compassion for them and want to be provided with health or prosperity.
9/27/10 9:22 AM
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reverend john
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That sounds just as selfish, I love my enemy for what he does for me.

I however am not loving my enemy for any other reason than the knowledge that as created in God's image, my enemy is worthy of being loved, and that God does love him

rev
9/27/10 9:33 AM
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Joe Ray
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reverend john - That sounds just as selfish, I love my enemy for what he does for me.

rev


Exactly. The perfect reason to love one's enemy.

Nietzsche is correct. I rest my case.
9/27/10 9:35 AM
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jimmy23
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Joe Ray does make a point, although probably not the one he thinks he wants to


When we get pissed off, when we hate, it is god, the universe, Mr Wizard, whatever you want to call it, showing us areas we need to work on. Showing us where our character flaws are. Without such events, those flaws would grow stronger, because that sort of thing, in my experience, gets stronger in the darkness.


Often, we cant be free of those feelings and reactions until we see them in the light, own them, and ask for them to be removed.

".Thus, the only appropriate reason to love one's enemy is because it provides one with an opportunity to overcome resistance for growth and to become stronger, not because you harbour selfless compassion for them and want to be provided with health or prosperity."


appropriate to who?


And if you are doing because you expect "health and prosperity", then you are probably  setting yourself up for problems - expectations are pre conceived resentments. You do it because it frees you from heavy, negative feelings, and opens you up for a more complete perception and communion with the divine. If you expect a reward greater than that, then you miss the point entirely
9/27/10 9:44 AM
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Joe Ray
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jimmy23 -".Thus, the only appropriate reason to love one's enemy is because it provides one with an opportunity to overcome resistance for growth and to become stronger, not because you harbour selfless compassion for them and want to be provided with health or prosperity."


appropriate to who?



The person who has enemies. Why should you love your enemies? The only appropriate answer is because they provide you with the opportunity to overcome them and thus grow stronger and more knowledgable.



And if you are doing because you expect "health and prosperity", then you are probably  setting yourself up for problems - expectations are pre conceived resentments. You do it because it frees you from heavy, negative feelings, and opens you up for a more complete perception and communion with the divine. If you expect a reward greater than that, then you miss the point entirely


I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I stated that one should not one love one's enemies in the way you would love a friend or family member and wish for them health or prosperity.

BTW the points about hatred of one's enemies eating away at you is very true and of course has to be watched out for. It just doesn't then mean that the notion of loving one's enemies in the Christian manner to be the embodiment of high virtue.
9/27/10 9:50 AM
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jimmy23
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"? The only appropriate answer is because they provide you with the opportunity to overcome them and thus grow stronger and more knowledgable."

it isnt about overcoming your enemies. You can and will find enemies everywhere and spend your life fighting useless battles (most of which will be in your head) if you need conflict to give meaning to your life

"I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I stated that one should not one love one's enemies in the way you would love a friend or family member and wish for them health or prosperity."

ideally, if you want to be free of attachment to those enemies, pray for them to be blessed with grace and divine guidance

you love them for being children of god, you extend gratitude to them for exposing the areas of your own psyche that need to be changed  if you want a more comprehensive relationship with the divine
9/27/10 9:52 AM
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Joe Ray
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jimmy23 - "? The only appropriate answer is because they provide you with the opportunity to overcome them and thus grow stronger and more knowledgable."

it isnt about overcoming your enemies.


I agree, it is about growing and becoming stronger. Battling worthy enemies is merely a means towards this.


9/27/10 9:55 AM
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reverend john
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No I think we should appreciate that it is those that we struggle with the most that cause us the most growth, for sure. But that isn't why we should love them.

But I think we should wish for their best interest, not health and prosperity, for they are not the same thing. Often it is the opposite of health and prosperity that are in our best interest.

btw Joe, your case is only made if selfish desire is the epitome of virtue, which I do not believe it is. So you may rest your case in self satisfied comfort, but you haven't proved anything, it is as subjective as what kind of music you like.

rev
9/27/10 9:56 AM
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jimmy23
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except that when approached the way  everyone elseon the thread is talking about, it isnt about overcoming them, it is about releasing misconceptions and reactions that come between us and the divine.

and they change from enemies into teachers, whether they want to or not. the very idea of an enemy fades away.... 
9/27/10 9:57 AM
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jimmy23
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reverend john - No I think we should appreciate that it is those that we struggle with the most that cause us the most growth, for sure. But that isn't why we should love them.


rev
you might have missed this

"you love them for being children of god, you extend gratitude to them for exposing the areas of your own psyche that need to be changed if you want a more comprehensive relationship with the divine"
 
9/27/10 10:07 AM
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Joe Ray
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reverend john - 
btw Joe, your case is only made if selfish desire is the epitome of virtue, which I do not believe it is. So you may rest your case in self satisfied comfort, but you haven't proved anything, it is as subjective as what kind of music you like.


I agree entirely. All creeds of morality, be it mine, Nietzsche's or that of Christianity and every other religions are essentially subjective and are never applicable to all humans at all times.

While I would agree that selfish desire is not the epitome of virtue, in some cases it is essential. When condemning egoism, always ask the question "whose ego?".

Obviously the selfishness of a petty criminal or gangster is not going to lead to a virtuous life, but the selfishness of Shakespeare or Beethoven certainly will.
9/27/10 10:14 AM
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jimmy23
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there is healthy selfishness and unhealthy selfishness. The unhealthy kind eventually causes more pain than before, and limits ones viewpoint over time. It can take experience to see it, sometimes mixed with a healthy doseof pain

healthy selfishness tends to be  good for oneself, long and short term, and good or at least non damaging (long term) to others. For example, calling the cops on a murder might seem to do short term damage to him, but it prevents him from killing others. Punishing  a child for bad behavior seems to hurt him short term, but it can prevent him from making serious mistakes later on on life where the consequences are more severe.


going to bed, good discussion fellas
9/27/10 12:36 PM
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Robert Wynne
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Grakman -  What does it mean to you, and if you believe it, how do you implement it in your life?

 it means to me that the writers of the new testament..ala.. the church of england..knew the truth about themselves..and was doing pre-pope spin control...


u reap,what you sow....so if you want mercy, you must sow mercy.
9/27/10 12:42 PM
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reverend john
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u are aware that the church of England only wrote a translation don't you that we have many documents in the original languages that say the same thing
9/27/10 12:50 PM
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Robert Wynne
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 yes, rev, i am aware that SOME, of the modern new testament, correlates with older  writings, dating to the roman empire time frame.
9/27/10 1:19 PM
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reverend john
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The Latin vulgate is complete the pieces create completeness in the original languages the bible is incredibly reliable as a copy of ancient work it is it's interpretation that is so vert unreliable

Rev
9/27/10 1:19 PM
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reverend john
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The Latin vulgate is complete the pieces create completeness in the original languages the bible is incredibly reliable as a copy of ancient work it is it's interpretation that is so vert unreliable

Rev
9/27/10 2:16 PM
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Robert Wynne
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ok...have a nice day!
9/27/10 2:43 PM
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Robert Wynne
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 :)

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