“It is impossible,” you say, “for me to love my enemies, and to do good to them.” Not true. It was possible for David, who wept for his enemies, Saul and Abessalom [Absalom] who perished (II Kings [II Samuel] chh. 1 and 18). For mourning over the destruction of enemies is a manifest sign of love for enemies. It was possible for St. Stephen, who prayed for his enemies who stoned him, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, (Acts 7:60). It was possible for all the saints. Then it is also possible for you. You are a man, and they were men. You are weak, and they had the same weakness.
When children learn to read books, they first learn the letters, then spelling, and later on they learn to read. Christians should proceed in the same way in Christian doctrine. First of all, they should learn to return good for good, which is gratitude; then not to return evil for evil, insult for insult, offense for offense, and not to take revenge either in word or in deed on the offender; and then after this, even to love their enemies and to do good to those that hate them, and to return good for evil.
This is the ladder by which Christians ascend toward perfection, that is toward love of enemies. What, then, Christian? When you are commanded to love your enemies, and to do good to those that hate you—commanded by Him Who created you and redeemed the lost by His blood and death, and Who holds your death and life in His hand—will you consent and forgive him who offended you? If an earthly king had commanded you not only to forgive your neighbor his offense, but also to serve him, or else be put to death, which had you better choose? To die or to forgive and serve your neighbor? I hope that you would rather wish to forgive and serve your neighbor than to die. The Heavenly King commands you not only to forgive him that offended you, but also to love your enemies, and to do good to those that hate you. Otherwise eternal death will follow those that do not hear the commandment of the Heavenly King. Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven, (Matthew :21) THE END