Jesus said, “The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. The second is like unto it - love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Mark 12:30,31) Surely we pray daily for our loved ones and friends. Jesus took this to a much higher level. We must even pray for our enemies.
The law in the time of Jesus was “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. It hath been said, “Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate thy 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 that despitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43)
Jealousy will steal your peace of mind and bring you bitterness and sleepless nights. The best way to get rid of an enemy is to obey the advice of our Lord: Love and pray for them. If you do this sincerely, soon your enemy will become your friend. Not only did you conquer an enemy, but you also have a new friend.
I cannot forget the wise words of Emerson, who reminded us:
“The man who has a thousand friends,
Has not a friend to spare;
But he who has an enemy -
Will meet him everywhere.”
Emerson also wrote, “God evidently does not intend us all to be rich, or powerful or great, but He does intend us all to be friends.” We are our brother’s keeper.
How does one determine just who are our friends? Ulysses Grant once said, “The friends of my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.”
Without a doubt, our best friends are those who allow us to be our true selves in their presence without either ostentation or pretentiousness. A true friend is the one who is quietly pushing us a little closer to God, and always brings the best out of us.
Charles Schwab gave us some wonderful advice when he suggested, “Lead the life that will make you kindly and friendly to everyone about you, and you will be surprised what a happy life you will have.”
Those who have loved and lived together have been drawn close, and those who have struggled together for good and right are linked forever; but those who have loved and suffered together, will be embraced eternally in the most honorable and sacred bond God gave to human beings.
Whittier sounded a note God put in every human heart when he wrote,
“I have friends in spirit land -
Not shadows in a shadowy band.
Not others but themselves are they,
And still I think of them the same
As when the Master’s summons came.”