No more scientific command was ever given than "Love your enemies," because love is the antidote for all sorts of grudges, all feelings of ill-will. You will have no enemies if you treat them all as friends, if you do by them as you would have them do by you. There is only one way to make and to hold enemies, and that is, to treat people like enemies in your thought and in your attitude and conduct toward them. You will attract the same kind of thoughts that you give out. Your own will come back to you, your attitude toward others will be practically their attitude toward you. Hatred cannot live an instant in the presence of love, any more than fire and water can live together. The practice of the Golden Rule, obedience to the command, "Love your enemies," kills revenge, jealousy, greed, all unkindness. It makes friends and brothers of enemies.
This is as natural as it is scientific. We all love kindly, magnanimous treatment. It softens hearts and wipes out ill feeling. Hatred and resentment cannot live in an atmosphere of friendliness, of helpfulness, of brotherly love. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred a conciliatory attitude would bring your own to you without contention, without quarreling. Practicing love's way with those we call our enemies would do away with a large part of the law business of the world. Very few lawyers would have business if love's way instead of law's way were always practiced by contestants.
Did you ever realize that by yielding instead of resisting, by giving in instead of being stubborn, of being a stickler for an apology, you disarm the resentment and awaken the better nature of the one who has injured you? Many people have thus gained the good-will of one whom they had regarded as an enemy.
Give in, my friend - this is love's way. Don't resist, don't stand out, don't be a stickler for the fine points, for the letter of your rights, but show yourself big, magnanimous, generous to your foe or fancied enemy. You will arouse what is big and generous in him. He will say to himself, "Why, I never realized that this man was such a good fellow, that he had such splendid qualities." He will be so impressed by your yielding, your "giving in," when according to custom you had a perfect right to resist, that he will become your friend. He cannot help admiring such magnanimity; he cannot stand off, hold out, after that, any more than a man you knock against accidentally on the street can hold his resentment when you apologize graciously and tell him how sorry you are.
The way of hatred, of resistance, the policy of harboring a grudge and trying to get square always leads to sorrow and disaster. Not long ago a fifteen-year-old boy shot and killed his uncle. When arrested for the crime, his defense was that his uncle had insulted his mother, and that for fifteen months he had been thinking about it, and had determined to "get square" with him.
Think of this wretched boy, who on the very threshold of his young life, because of a real or fancied injury commits a foul murder, thus blasting his whole career, if not forfeiting his life, and bringing disgrace on all connected with him!
Taking the law into our own hands, and in blind passion taking revenge for what often prove to be fancied injuries or insults, is a very serious matter. You cannot afford to go through the world recklessly venting your passion and spite upon those you think have injured or insulted you. You can't afford to go through life with a shield up in front of you, always ready to ward off thrusts from others who you think are going to hurt or insult you. You cannot afford the fatal rankling of hatred and revenge in your soul. They are efficiency killers, happiness destroyers. No one can afford to allow the enemies of his health, his happiness, and his efficiency, the enemies of his eternal welfare, to run riot in his nature, to blur his ideals, mar his ambition and strangle his chances in life.
One of the beauties of the New Thought and Christian Science philosophy is that it helps people to eradicate the roots of old troubles, to eliminate the causes of unhappiness and misery. It enables them to put out of their minds, to wipe out a bitter, unhappy past, because it believes thoroughly in the science of Christ's command to love our enemies.
Before Christ's day it was "an eye for an eye," an unkindness for an unkindness, a thrust for a thrust, a blow for a blow; but He taught that we must not strike back. "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." This is as scientific as the laws of chemistry or mathematics.
The infant puts his hand in the flame and the pain he suffers teaches him a bitter lesson. He knows better than to do it again. After we have had our revenge, after we have tortured ourselves with thoughts which tear and lacerate us, after we have had experience enough of this kind, we shall learn that it is too expensive a business, that we cannot afford to pay such a price for the sake of "getting square" with another.
The next time you are so angry that your blood boils with indignation and you are ready to belch forth the hot lava of your temper like a volcano, just think a moment and don't do it. The next time you are inclined to hold a grudge in your heart against some one you think has injured you, don't do it. You are only putting up a spite fence between yourself and your God. There's an infinitely better way of "getting even" than of flying into a passion or holding a grudge, a glorious way that will give you peace of mind and infinite satisfaction - love's way. Try it.
Don't mail that sarcastic, bitter letter which you wrote in an angry mood, and which gave you a feeling of spiteful satisfaction because you thought you had done a smart thing and were going to get square with someone who had insulted or injured you - burn it. There is a better way, love's way. Try it.
Don't say the mean thing you have been planning to say to someone you think has been mean to you. Instead, give him the love thought, the magnanimous thought. Say to yourself: "He is my brother. No matter what he has done, I can't be mean to him. I must show my friendliness, my magnanimity to this brother."
In France surgeons are using electric magnets to draw fragments of shrapnel, bullets, steel particles, etc., from soldiers' wounds. The love magnet applied to our enemies, to those who have injured us, will draw out the irri tating substances, the things which poison. Love is the spiritual magnet that takes the sting out of all sorts of injuries and insults; it removes all discord because it forgets as well as forgives.