On Loving Our Enemies

(Originally posted to ezrasf.com)

In honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems we need his wisdom more than ever. A friend posted part of this on Facebook, so I found this expanded version.

Why should we love our enemies?

The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. Mindful that hate is an evil and dangerous force, we too often think of what it does to the person hated. This is understandable, for hate brings irreparable damage to its victims.

But there is another side which we must never overlook. Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy be getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.

A great example of how the above is true can be seen in the media reports about the vitriol passing between the United States political parties over health care. The reactionary climate resulted in counter-productive posturing and slowing the process. Of course, no one physically assaulted others or shot them in a duel, so I guess things are civilized… Just full of hate. We all suffer because these people take opposition personally. That is easy to do when their best arguments are ad hominems.

Maybe 50%+ (House) and 60% (Senate filibuster proof) are too low of a threshold to get consensus. What about 66.7% like that for amendments or 75% or 80% as the necessary threshold? Even better? Since the issue here is the parties don’t work together, maybe the solution is passage requires 10% more votes over the membership of the majority party?

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