These words of Thomas Merton offer another perspective on loving our enemy.
"Do not be too quick to assume that your enemy is an enemy of God just because he is your enemy.
Perhaps he is your enemy precisely because he can find nothing in you that gives glory to God."
I can see this wisdom operating at an individual level and at a national level. If we truly reflected the deep love and grace and mercy of God, would our enemy find it easy to hate us? Or would they find any reason to consider themselves our enemy? Merton continues...
"Perhaps he fears you because he can find nothing in you of God’s love and God’s kindness and God’s patience and mercy and understanding of the weaknesses of men."
When we come in vulnerability and brokenness, even to our enemy, who might seize the opportunity to crush us, then we open up an opportunity for something more beautiful to emerge. Surely war, violence and retaliation become unthinkable when we consider the possibility that we ourselves may have contributed to the situation we find ourselves in.
Merton writes, "Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God, for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice, your mediocrity and materialism, your sensuality and selfishness that have killed his faith."
Merton's words are simply a new take on the wisdom of Jesus - do not seek to remove a speck from your brother's eye before you have dealt with the plank in your own eye.
Who is my enemy? Who is the one I struggle to love? Perhaps the angst and brokenness between us flows from my lack of love and lack of faith.
Lord have mercy.
[Source: New Seeds of Contemplation]