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.
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