How do I deal with my enemy

How do i love my enemy

Jesus says we should love our neighbor. Sometimes that is not easy - but always somehow feasible. He also says we should love our enemies. This command challenges us like no other. How does that work? How can we learn that? And what role does God play in this?

Frederike Herrlich has lost her son. He was murdered by the Islamist terrorist Anis Amri, he is one of the victims of the attack on Breitscheidplatz in Berlin in December 2016. And yet Frederike Herrlich says: "The assassin is not an enemy for me."

Fortunately, most people don't have to endure the horror that Frederike Herrlich experienced. But at some point we all may meet people who we could see as enemies: neighbors who gossip about us; to colleagues who bully us; or friends who lie to us. How can we manage not to hate these people but to love them? How can we learn to love our enemies?

First of all, Lucia Zimmer makes it clear: “The path to love one's enemy is not a smooth path, not at all. It's rocky and it takes time. It can last for years. ”Zimmer is a spiritual guide in the Diocese of Osnabrück, and she is convinced that the path to love one's enemies is not a logical sequence of steps. Not a method that can be looked up in a manual. The gift of loving one's enemy can ultimately only be requested from God, says Zimmer: "Because loving one's enemy is basically almost impossible on a human level."

When talking to God, it is important to be honest, emphasizes the spiritual guide. Prayer also means entrusting to God how my enemy oppresses me, how he makes me angry and awakens my thirst for revenge. "Only when we reveal our wounds can God heal them," says Zimmer. Whoever names his aggressions already takes away a little of their power. Those who oppress it, on the other hand, have it within themselves. “And at some point the aggressions have me,” says Zimmer. “Then everything will be much worse.” The commandment to love one's enemy is not a norm that everyone has to fulfill one hundred percent at all times. Rather, it is a goal that we can approach.

Those who wish can pray for themselves on the way to this goal. But he can also look for spiritual guidance. Or another advisor who can show him how to deal with the conflict. And he can check: How did this hostility actually come about? Do I have a part in it too?


If we don't move forward, the time is not yet right

It may be that, despite our best efforts, we do not make headway. That we do not approach the state of love for our enemies. "Then that's the way it is. Then the time is not yet ripe, ”says Zimmer. So: wait, be patient. “Prayers are not magic.” In general, loving your enemy does not have to mean falling around his neck. It can also mean renouncing revenge and retribution. Or simply: to stay away from the other.

Enemy love works, Zimmer is convinced of that. It changes people and their surroundings: "Because someone who is no longer eaten up by hatred has a different charisma." And because this charisma is good. Himself. And the others too.

By Andreas Lesch