I recently read an article about the translation issues for the love your enemies portion of the Didache. For people who do not know, the Didache was a document written in the early church, and it is about as old as the books of the Bible. It is the Lord’s Teachings Through the 12 Apostles. The teachings are very much in line with the New Testament.
The article was talking about how some translate it like the saying in the Bible – to love your enemies. The more trendy translation is to have no enemies. The article explained the difficulties with the translation, and how it is possible to interpret the words in various ways and not know with certainty which was the intent of the original author. In the end, they say the same thing, but through two different lenses.
The article was talking about how our innate human nature sees a person and reacts differently to one category of person, say, an enemy, and another category like friend. So the issue is, can you really love someone you perceive as an enemy?
The article went on to talk about God’s love. Even the worst sinner is viewed with the same amount of love through God’s eyes. This is hard to fathom. He loves serial killers and child abusers the same as he loves me.
As Christians, we are called to love with God’s love, and thus, to love everyone means to learn, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to see everyone as friends; to love everyone despite differences and hurt feelings.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit today pondering how it is that we are called to love our enemies. Who are your enemies? Where do you need to work to forgive so that you can call these enemies friends. Maybe it isn’t so much that you are their enemies as it is that they treat you as an enemy, which causes a negative reaction in you. In my recent experience, I have learned how asking the Holy Spirit into situations brings great wisdom, and it can change any negative vibes. For instance, I asked the Holy Spirit to show me how to relate to my mother as her dementia progressed. He lead me to a wonderful place, and our last few years were filled with great joy in each other. Never doubt that he will do the same for you. If it doesn’t seem to work, then the prayer becomes, “Holy Spirit, help me to better see and understand where you are working in my life.” He will deliver on this promise if you are truly open.
You are all in my prayers,
Ms. Debra D. Weldon, O.P.
For more on the Didache: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html