Friend to all, foe to no one
That’s the ideal we ought to aim at in our relationship with others. Everyone should be a friend of ours, regardless of our differences and conflicts, some of them unavoidable and even unresolvable. This is the clear mark of human and Christian perfection.
This is simply because at the end of the day, we are all brothers and sisters, all children of God, and commanded by God himself to love everyone, including the enemies and the unlovable. This fundamental truth about ourselves prevails over whatever differences and conflicts we have with one another.
This is how God loves us as shown and lived by Christ himself. Christ told it to us very clearly. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” he said, “that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
He continued: “He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5,44-48)
We need to pause long to digest these divine words that we should take seriously. Did Christ really say this? Is it really possible to love one’s enemies? Is it true that God cares for everyone? Does loving one’s enemies reflect in us God’s perfection? We have to have the answers to these questions to resolve and settle the issue.
I believe that the answers to these questions can only be YES. Christ has shown it to us. His love covered everyone. In fact, he showed some preferential attention to those who are far away from him and are even hostile. He went all the way to offer his life for all of us, assuming our sins which he did not commit to repay the debt we cannot pay.
Before giving up his life on the cross, he offered forgiveness to everyone of us who in one way or another is responsible for the greatest evil in this world—the killing of the very Son of God. That is the extent of his love for us.
We have to pray, make sacrifices and do everything to train ourselves to acquire that kind of love. We need to have a universal heart that loves not only those who differ from us in matters of opinion, but also those who are hostile to us in matters of faith and morals.
In other words, we have to be willing to be crucified ourselves, like Christ. We have to willing to go to the very gates of hell without entering it to still save those who would be entering there.
Obviously, this can only happen if we are vitally with Christ, when his spirit of love is the one animating our soul. On the part of God, he has already given us everything so we can be as we ought to be, i.e., like him.
Things just depend on us. Are we willing to make some changes in our attitudes? Are we developing the appropriate virtues and skills so that we can approximate the example of Christ?
We have to spend time and effort to make this ideal a reality in our life. It’s always possible. We have the guarantee of Christ himself.*
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