Of all the teachings and commandments that Jesus has directed the faithful to do, the one that directs us to love our enemies is one of the most difficult to obey. Can you imagine loving a person that persecutes you, makes life difficult for you and your loved ones, or hurts you in any way? The most natural thing to do is to hate these people but Jesus asks us to go above the human level of reaction and commands us to “Love Your Enemies”.
It has been been said that we cannot call ourselves true followers of Christ if we are unable to do this difficult commandment. Jesus goes further by asking us ” to offer the other when someone strikes us in one cheek”. Truly, most of us would think that this is an impossibility.
To love our enemies is possible only through the grace of forgiveness. It is impossible to love without forgiving. Forgiving is not merely limited to thought but would require the forgiver to do some form of action to manifest such forgiveness.
If people find it difficult to forgive petty mistakes done by others to them, how much more difficult is it to forgive someone guilty of purposely committing a grave violation on your person? Extremely difficult but possible through the grace of God.
Forgiveness is a grace that benefits the giver more than the recipient. Although it could provide some degree of peace to the recipient or sometimes release that person from human punishment, the giver of forgiveness benefits from being released from the bondage of hatred that an unforgiving stance cultivates to the maximum.
We can help ourselves heal faster from a wrong done to us if we are able to follow this commandment. The ultimate test is to love the unlovable and to forgive the unforgivable. Once we open ourselves to this possibility, God will do the rest for us.