This is a very intriguing part of our Christian faith. Not only should we love our enemies, as Christ taught us, but we also need to drown evil with an abundance of good. This was specifically articulated by St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans where he said:
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Rom 12,17-20)
We have to try our best to erase whatever disbelief, doubt or skepticism we can have as we consider this teaching, since most likely, our first and spontaneous reaction to it would precisely be those conditions. We can ask, even if done only interiorly, “Is Christ really serious about this? Can this thing that Christ and St. Paul are telling us, possible, doable?”
When these reactions come to us, it is time to remind ourselves that we just have to follow our faith that definitely contains a lot of mysteries and things supernatural that we are not expected to understand fully. Like Our Lady and all the saints, we should just believe and do what we are told because it is Christ who said so, and because it is the Church that teaches us so.
That’s what faith is all about. By believing first, then we can start to understand things that are hard to explain or articulate in human terms. As they say, that’s how the ball bounces. We should not waste time trying to understand everything at once or at the beginning. Let’s be game enough to go through some kind of adventure that, no matter how the outcome would be, we know that God is in control of everything.
In the meantime, guided by our faith, let’s begin to develop the appropriate attitudes, practices, habits and virtues. We have to learn the intricacies of charity, like being patient, magnanimous, compassionate and understanding, merciful, always friendly with everyone even if not everyone is friendly with us. We should be willing to suffer for the others and to bear their burdens.
We have to see to it that our thoughts, desires and intentions, our words and deeds are always animated by charity. There should no negative elements in them, even if we notice the defects, mistakes and sins of the others, and even if they have wronged us.
We have to have a good grip on our emotions, able to dominate and properly orient our biases, preferences and other idiosyncracies that constitute our differences and even conflicts with others. We have to learn to focus more on what we have in common rather than what divides us. We have to learn how to dialogue with everyone.
We can always do all these things because of our spiritual nature and also because of God’s grace, in the first place. By living by this Christian teaching when faced with evil and wrongdoings others may do on us, we become more and more like Christ. And that in the end is what truly matters in our life!*