Jesus said: “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. And pray for those who persecute and slander you.” (Matthew 5:44)
To love our enemies means to extend compassion, kindness, and forgiveness towards those who have harmed or wronged us, instead of reacting with hate or violent retaliation. It involves recognizing the inherent worth and humanity of all individuals, even those who may be considered enemies or adversaries.
Praying for our enemies can bring a sense of peace and forgiveness to our own hearts, and can also potentially help to bring about positive change in the heart and actions of our enemies.
Jesus’ teaching on loving our enemies should be a guiding principle for everyone. Every Christian should seek to promote peace, understanding, and reconciliation in their personal and social interactions.
Being at peace with other people involves practising empathy, compassion, and understanding, and making efforts to resolve conflicts in a peaceful and respectful manner.
Some ways to cultivate peace with others include:
- Listen actively and with an open mind, seeking to understand the other person’s perspective. We can peacefully hear another person’s opinion without having to agree with them, especially on matters of heresy.
- Practice forgiveness and let go of grudges and resentments.
- Avoid reacting impulsively or defensively, and instead, respond thoughtfully and calmly.
- Communicate clearly and respectfully, using “I” statements to express your own feelings and needs, while also being mindful of the other person’s feelings and needs. Again, use peaceful and calm methods when listening to the other person, however, it is not necessary to validate someone’s feelings or beliefs if they are clearly wrong.
- Look for common ground and shared interests to build connections and strengthen relationships.
- Seek support from trusted friends or family members, or consider working with a professional mediator or therapist if needed.
Remember that being at peace with others is an ongoing process, and requires ongoing effort and commitment to cultivate and maintain positive relationships.
Loving one’s enemies does not necessarily mean condoning or accepting their harmful actions, but rather seeking to respond to them in a non-violent and compassionate manner.