"How, John, can I pray for you?"
Thank you to those who ask me this.
My response is: Pray that I would love my enemies from the heart.
This, for me, is the big one. Because I don't - not yet. All the other moral commands follow from this. (Yes, the enemy is my "neighbor.")
How revolutionary Jesus is, to tell us to love our enemies. Why did Jesus extend the cone of love to include enemies? Because retaliating back only deepens hatred. Because doing nothing accomplishes just that, nothing, and where nothing is done relationships further erode. Because, as Martin Luther King Jr. wrote:
Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction.
So when Jesus says “Love your enemies,”
he is setting forth
a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition.
Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies—or else?
The chain reaction of evil—
hate begetting hate, wars producing wars—
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation.
MLK Jr., Strength to Love
Only love can drive out hate.