Who are your enemies? Not
necessarily the one who steals your business or speaks ill of you,
but he who tries to prevent you from seeking God's kingdom. The one
who steals your business might be removing an attachment or obstacle
to your salvation. But he who obstructs you from seeking God's
kingdom is truly devilish and, therefore, an enemy.
Enemies, as we understand it above,
are always persecutors. And persecutions are either external or
internal. External is when they use physical tortures to discourage
you from seeking God. Internal is when they incite you to lust,
pride, impatience, injustice and uncharitableness.
External persecution produces red
martyrs. Internal persecution produces white martyrs and is commonly
described as monasticism.
The main goal of persecutors or
enemies is to take you away from the truth. And the only one and
true enemy is the devil; though the devil uses people who have
allowed themselves to be used as his cohorts. When the devil uses
people to distance you from the truth, this is external persecution.
When the devil uses your own passions and vices to make you choose
your own will rather than God's will, this is internal
We usually have no valid reason to
hate other people; but, enemies, we have every reason to hate them.
They are really a hateful lot because they represent the devil in
every aspect. But since there is still the human aspect in them and
that makes them fall under the law 'to love your neighbor', to love
one's enemies means that we should enter into our hearts and remove
the hatred therein.
An enemy is an evil man. As a man,
he is a neighbor; as evil, he is an enemy. We must love the
man in him but hate the evil in him. The evil in him is both your
enemy and his enemy. Love of enemies is . . . let us hate the evil
in him but remove our hatred for the man in him. For often we hate
both the evil and the man in him.
Loving one's enemy means to remove
the hatred within us and take away the evil in him; though the
second does not always work, the first will.