– The Gospel According to Saint Matthew
This is love at its most magnificent. In order to love like this, we cannot be attached to ourselves. It is because we think so much about ourselves that we strike back, show resentment, speak harshly, move away.
Jesus’ words do not mean agreeing with everything people say or supporting whatever they do. We sometimes have to oppose people we love. Yet, if we do it tenderly, it is not likely that it will cost us a single friend. In fact, that person might say, “I’ve found a friend who will support me and stand beside me always.”
When I write or talk about wanting to love everyone, I'm sure some people think I'm out of my mind. Love the guy who messes all over your blog? Love the boss who denigrates you in front of your co-workers? Love John Mark Karr? Love Osama bin Laden?
It is probably as difficult for me to do this as it is for anyone else. Until I'm able to understand, if only for a moment, that these individuals are instantiations of the divine unity of Ultimate Reality and that their acts--however frustrating, maddening, repulsive, or infuriating--are also manifestations of that same Reality that also includes myself and everyone else.
The better and longer I'm able to understand this, the easier it is for me to look with compassion, if not lovingkindness, on those who do me or others harm. Karr and bin Laden don't know me from proverbial Adam and could probably care less how I feel about them even if they did know me. Yet there are people in my life, in all our lives, who DO know us and who DO care how we feel about them. What would happen if we could go on loving them no matter what they believed or how they acted? What difference would it make in their lives to know that even when we disagree with them about religion or politics or the way they conduct their personal affairs, we will never stop caring about them and never truly abandon them? And what difference would it make in our lives if we had more people who felt the same way about us and treated us accordingly?