Search

Inspirational Article


Why We Should Love Our Enemies

by Paramhansa Yogananda

From Inner Culture Magazine, March/April 1936.

Article Index



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; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the Publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the Publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. —Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus says it is not enough to love your neighbors only and exclude your enemies. He says that a wise man beholds in the circumference of his heart not only the presence of friends, but also enemies. Transcend duality through love.

One who extends his love to friends and enemies alike finds that the duality of love and hate vanishes and he beholds only the presence of the One Love everywhere—in flowers, animals, and especially in the hearts of friends and enemies.

It is easy to curse someone who hates you, but curses do not stop your enemy from hating; they only increase his hatred. It is better to use love and blessings toward people who curse you, so that your good example might change their evil ways.

Actions speak louder than words. It is not easy to deceive the human heart and its intuitive perception. If you hate at heart and talk love simply to win your enemy, it will not work unfailingly. But if when you talk love, you also hold loving thoughts, this will surely mollify and change your enemies even if they do not admit it outwardly.

Do good for your enemies

Do some good for your enemies if possible. This is a sure way of convincing them of your love. Do good for them even through they hate you and are willing to injure you. If you are not near those who hate you, pray to God that He free them from hatred. If you cannot take away your enemy's hatred, God can do so, for He is omnipresent in all hearts and minds and can remedy all inharmonious conditions.

If your prayer is sincere and strong, God will be moved to take away the hatred from your enemy's heart—if He thinks that is the best course for you and all concerned. If your prayer to change your enemy's attitude is not answered, then know that God wants you to pass the test of loving your enemy while he hates you.

Become perfect

God gives the same measure of love to His naughty child as to His good child, so that His naughty child may have a chance to recover. By silently giving love to man, God is helping man's slow but sure emancipation. God never admonishes the wrongdoer, but silently and lovingly talks to him through the whispers of his conscience.

Just as God loves all His children, naughty or good, so also does the true child of God learn to give love for hate, goodness for evil actions, and to love all of his divine brethren alike. To become perfect like the Father, a soul must behave like the Father. Those who love their enemies are surely loved by the Father and become like Him.