A noted peacemaker reflects on the most difficult of the "hard sayings" of Jesus. Not everything Jesus taught must be regarded as a commandment. Counsels on voluntary poverty or celibacy, for instance, have been seen as an option for a small minority of Christ's followers. The same cannot be said about the love of enemies. This is basic Christianity--the message Jesus taught through direct instruction, through parables, and by the example of his own life. And yet, as Jim Forest notes, it is undoubtedly the hardest commandment of all, on that runs counter to our natural inclination and call for prayer, discernment, and constant practice. Drawing on scripture, the lives of the saints, modern history, and personal stories, Forest offers "nine disciplines of active love," including "praying for enemies," "turning the other cheek," "forgiveness," and "recognizing Jesus in others," that make the love of enemies, if not an easier task, then a goal worth striving toward in our daily lives.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is for any person who struggles with loving an enemy. Author Jim Forest redefines "enemy" as any person we have trouble with--not just big troubles, like enemies in war, etc., but the little troubles of every day, such as arguments, strong differences of opinion, small offenses, and the like. Mr Forest explains Jesus' commandment and then goes on to show the ways we can indeed, with God's help, love our enemies. The book is easy to read and the tone is encouraging and optimistic, reflecting God's love and instilling us with hope that we can follow Christ's command and practice reconciliation and peace at every level in our lives. The author is a member of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship (www.incommunion.org), an association of Orthodox Christian believers seeking to bear witness to the peace of Christ by applying the principles of the Gospel to situations of division and conflict, whether in the home, the parish, the community we live, the work place, within our particular...
Full of stories, quotations from the early fathers and other holy women and men, scripture texts with commentaries and personal anecdotes, this book is a gem that helps unpack the command of Jesus to love our enemies.
Well worth the time to read, to pray, and to study - and then put into practice.
We need to learn to live what this book teaches us.
This is a powerful book on Christian responsibility which ranks with "Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way" as my favorite books about Christian non-violence. As I read it Boko Haram and ISIS were in the morning news and I kept wondering how to be Christian in the face of this. Then I took a step back and wondered from what circumstances did these groups form and what as a Christian can I do to relieve the root causes. Since I was on the Beijing subway while reading I realized that what I really needed to do in the moment was let go of my frustration over the young woman behind me whose handbag kept hitting into my butt as the train started and stopped. How could I love her? When I looked into her face, I could see she was sad and harried. All there was to do was breathe in and breathe out and smile.
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