By Fulton Oursler Author of "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
This lovely piece was published in "This Week" magazine, 02-25-1950. While the author talked about then contemporary topics, such as communists and Nazis, the principle of forgiveness will always be current.
"Love is always a risk, but only a risk brings victory." ~Theodor Huess
When I was a boy, it seemed only natural that if someone blacked my eye, I should bloody his nose. If he pushed me, it was my job to push him back. but as I grew older and the pushing around in life became more sophisticated, I found that retaliation and revenge always ended up by harming rather than helping me.
Ultimately, life teaches that to hate an enemy is to conspire with him for your own defeat. This is because hatred is a destructive adviser which blinds the reason and corrupts the judgment.
But to love an enemy is a kind of exquisite common sense. Far from being naive of foolish, it is the height of enlightened selfishness, whose wisdom nourishes the well-being of body, mind and spirit.
Only recently one of the great wartime leaders confided that, during the Nazi bombing, his subconscious fury against the enemy began to threaten his nervous system. Not until he was able to control his feelings and pray for the conversion of the enemy , could he thing calmly again and inspire the people to fight on.
"Today," the leader added, "I am able to pray for the Communists - even though I shall oppose them to my last breath."
Hatred, pretending to be a friend, is really a Judas, always ready to betray us into defeat. On the other hand, loving your enemy is a matter of attitude and purpose; of how you think and feel about what you are doing; of fighting for an ideal that you love, and not merely against something that you hate.
Once free of bitterness, our strength is as the strength of ten, because we are master of the soul's household. We can then fight aggressively for the causes we believe in, without either the could malice that corrodes body and mind, or the butter passion that rends us. That is a great way to live, and it is the only way to lasting victory and inner peace.
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