Enemies are easier to love when none come to mind, when there are no names or faces or hurtful words and actions that worm their way into your mind and heart and play on repeat. Enemies are easier to love when they don’t wake you up in the middle of the night or encourage you to question your value, worthiness, or sanity.
When real enemies show up in our lives, loving them is more than a platitude. It is tough and difficult work. The desire to defend ourselves, to share our side of the story, to feed our ego, to fight against the injustices done to us often reveal their ugliness. They try and convince us that this love your enemy thing is for different people in different circumstances, not this person and this hurt. When enemies have names and faces, and hurts are not so easily overcome, despite sincere commitments to our lofty ideas of love (even for our enemies) in our better moments. Loving enemies is no joke. It is courageous and hard and ongoing and difficult and life altering and worth it. Loving our enemies sets us free.
When our enemies show up with names and faces and unkind words and actions, may we find a way to love that enemy. May we truly believe that there is no need to defend ourselves. May we rest in the assurance that love is always the way out, even (or maybe especially) when it comes to loving our enemies.