Love Your Enemies

dad's olive grove

Olive groves are super biblical and shit.

Bible School today brought to you by my dark disappointment in humankind:

How can Christians sanction any war? Remember Mathew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Or, how about the King James Version? “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”

Pick any version you like and Jesus’s message is still the same:

LOVEYOURMOTHERFUCKINGENEMIESYOUFUCKERS.

I’m an atheist who believes Jesus is fictional and yet I believe in and live his philosophy more fully than many Christians do. How can anyone call themselves Christian and fight in or sanction the fighting of a war?

Jesus said to love your enemies.

NOT SHOOT THEM, BOMB THEM, STARVE THEM, OR RAPE THEM.  HE SAID TO LOVE THEM. LOVE THEM. LOVE THEM.

This is why, if you’ve ever wondered*, I have such a hard time with religion. People say they love Jesus and then they do whatever the fuck they want. If Christians really believed in and trusted in and lived by Jesus’s teachings, no Christians would own handguns or military weapons. They are incongruent with Jesus’s teachings.

You know what’s amazing? The fact that rare people from all faiths have said the same things as Jesus over the course of human history. Gandhi was a Hindu and basically lived by the same tenets that Jesus (Jewish) asked people to live by. Martin Luther King Jr. was a protestant and he believed what Jesus taught more truly than most other Christians. Nelson Mandela is another luminary in the world of good people who happen to be religious. The Dalai Lama (Buddhist) espouses the same philosophy as all of these other luminaries.

The things Jesus tried (and mostly failed) to teach his followers are things that all enlightened thinking feeling human beings have embraced. There aren’t many of those people. I don’t worship humans. I don’t worship anything. Worship is, to me, anathema to the development and evolution of the spirit. I believe there are people and beings and elements that can teach us a million things and I believe in learning and adjusting myself to new information, but learning from teachers isn’t the same as worshiping them.

Gandhi is a teacher. Martin Luther King Junior is a teacher. Jesus too, is a teacher, though fictional to me. All of them have much for me to learn from but I offer no worship to any of them. None of them actually asked for worship, they asked only that we listen and take to heart the things they have to say.

As long as humans cherish firearms over the safety of other humans and are capable of convincing themselves there are circumstances in which it’s okay to kill other humans (aside from accidentally), I can’t appreciate the unrealized potential for good in our species.

This has been a dark weekend. I desperately need to believe in the inherent good in the world but there isn’t enough evidence of it for me to hang onto.

And then I got the worst haircut I’ve gotten in seven years and cried for an hour because my new buzzed-cut makes me feel like a bald sea-cucumber.

I know of only one way to deal with all the darkness: be as honest and authentic as I can be in everything I do. Shed light in every corner I’m able to reach. As a person who suffers from depression and anxiety, those corners are often a thousand miles out of reach, I shine light into them when I crash through and hope others will keep the light burning when I’m miles deep into the dark.

I don’t have hope to offer anyone. Hope is something I’m often out of. I have only myself to offer. Having a lack of hope doesn’t mean I have no light.

Every day I go out in the world (when I have to) and I greet other humans with good will from my heart and the most honest and best part of myself I can. It doesn’t matter if they deserve it or not. That’s not for me to judge before I even know them. I think of all the souls out there who are doing their best to move forward, give back, and love honestly. Sometimes I smile at strangers and they look at me like I’m the Polio virus incarnate and then I have no problem flipping them off as they walk away. But mostly I greet every person as I believe persons should be greeted. The same way I greet every other animal I meet. The same way I greet the plants I see throughout my day. It’s all the same matter to me. Yes, I pass by your garden and salute your hedges. They live as we live.

Every day at work I pick up the phone and I greet customers as though they were people who deserve my care and my time, because most of them do. I’m human and the ones who make unreasonable demands and chastise me for rules I didn’t make up and that are, in fact, reasonable, understandably tick me off. But I express it and let it go. In my heart I don’t hold their attitudes and entitlement against them. Much.

Everywhere I go I treat people the best I can because I believe it’s vital to my spirit to be this kind of person. I smile at people all over town like the goddamn village idiot, but the truth is that smiling at strangers, even when I’m dying inside, ESPECIALLY WHEN I’M DYING INSIDE, feels powerful and regenerative. I let people get in line in front of me sometimes because I see no point in living in a rush. I hold the door open for both men and women whenever I can because it feels good to let people enter a space without the door crashing against their asses. And some of them I hold the doors open for are big fucking asses, but none of this is really about them, it’s about being a person I can live with being. It’s about being like the people who make ME feel good. It’s about being a human who grows and evolves and learns from my mistakes and never behaves as though other humans are less important.

No matter what else I do (or don’t do) in my life it’s vitally important to me that I never stop trying to become a better human tomorrow than I am today.

*Seeing as I’m never secretive about such things, no one ever need wonder.

4 comments

  1. Jay says:

    A very well stated piece. I, for one, sincerely appreciate the light you bring to my world. Your honesty and clarity refresh me and I do follow your light into the dark corners.

    Thank you

  2. Martina says:

    I have juste discovered your blog, thoughts and writings. So meaningful. I will come back and share with you. So, big thanks for everything. Martina
    (from France)

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