Love your Enemies?

To love your enemy is a difficult and baffling ethical teaching.

You can read this in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount:  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He 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?” 

Sikh teachings in the Adi Granth go further and say:  “No one is my enemy and none is a stranger to me, Everyone is my friend,” and, “Think everyone [is] your dear friend.”  A current living religious teacher, the Dalai Lama, said that: “If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.”  

Can your enemies be your spiritual teachers? This quote is from the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979.  “I accept the prize with profound gratitude on behalf of the oppressed everywhere and for all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace. I accept it as a tribute to the man who founded the modern tradition of nonviolent action for change – Mahatma Gandhi – whose life taught and inspired me.” 

To read the entire text of the Dalai Lama’s acceptance speech: 

The love for one’s neighbor is not a romantic feeling. It begins with an attempt to understand and hopefully translate this knowledge to compassion. Our adversaries reveal truths about ourselves. We learn about who we truly are as we know our enemies. 

Consider this, to carry within us gnawing hatred is a huge burden to carry. To have a deep desire for revenge is an even heavier emotional baggage. It can take over one’s life entirely. Thus, to love one’s enemy is to lighten one’s heart. It opens possibilities for constructive feelings and offers avenues for reconciliation and peace. Think of all the negative feelings and the energy you can free up by loving your enemy. Unload the burden of enmity and you will glide through life much easier. Joy will take over! The Dalai Lama said it so plainly: My religion is simple. My religion is kindness. 

With my fervent wish for kindness in your life, may you find friends in everyone anywhere you go.

Blessings,Albert Celoza, Ph.D., Executive Director, AZ Interfaith Movement
P.S. Check out our AZ license plate that spreads the message of the Golden Rule – at