A REFLECTION FROM THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS
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“Lessons on Love & Hate.”
You tear yourself apart by hating, by an anonymous early author from the Greek church.
“We have seen how murder is born from anger and adultery from desire.
In the same way, the hatred of an enemy is destroyed by the love of friendship. Suppose you have viewed a man as an enemy, yet after a while he has been swayed by your benevolence. You will then love him as a friend.
I think that Christ ordered these things not so much for our enemies as for us: not because enemies are fit to be loved by others but because we are not fit to hate anyone. For hatred is the prodigy of dark places. Wherever it resides, it sullies the beauty of sound sense.
Therefore not only does Christ order us to love our enemies for the sake of cherishing them but also for the sake of driving away from ourselves what is bad for us.
The Mosaic law does not speak about physically hurting your enemy but about hating your enemy. But if you merely hate him, you have hurt yourself more in the spirit than you have hurt him in the flesh. Perhaps you don’t harm him at
all by hating him. But you surely tear yourself apart. If then you are benevolent to an enemy, you have rather spared yourself than him. And IF YOU DO him A KINDNESS, YOU BENEFIT YOURSELF MORE than him.” (Excerpt from INCOMPLETE WORK ON MATTHEW, HOMILY 13, The Greek Fathers)