Wednesday, 9 February, 2011

a Moment for Wisdom…




“Which part of ‘Love your enemies’ don’t you understand?

Sharif Abdullah

Personal Wisdom:

Who are those in your life who are easy to

Who in your life is more difficult to

Are there any you find impossible to

What are the characteristics of the people in all three groups above?

How do you find (or fear) those characteristics in yourself?

Societal Wisdom:

As a society, what do we give our “enemies”? Do we give them anything that would turn them away from being enemies?

What nations or peoples do we treat as “enemies”? Why? What are their

How are those characteristics similar to our own?

a Moment with Sharif…

Loving our friends is “easy” (although some of mine can be trying at times!).

In the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, “love all, including your enemies” is the clearest, boldest, most direct and most challenging of his teachings. And, it is the most often ignored…

I was staying in the home of a conservative Christian friend some years ago, right before the invasion of Iraq. We were having a spirited breakfast table debate about the merits of the pending invasion. I told him that I believed I could go to Iraq and win them over as friends. He was unequivocal, “Saddam Hussein is our enemy and should be killed.”

I pointed to the huge Cross hanging around his neck and said, “If you believe Saddam is your enemy, you are obligated to love him.”  He looked at the Cross, then at me, and said, “Just because I believe in Jesus does not mean I have to follow him.”

In his case, you might refer to this as “spiritual dissonance”. His need to preserve a hatred for his “enemy” caused him to disregard the clear and simple teachings of Jesus. And not lose any sleep over it.

Although not so blatantly, we all have experiences of dissonance in our lives. If we didn’t, we would never have a single argument or disagreement with a single human being. (If that’s how you experience your life… tell me!) Our goal should be to constantly search for those we find difficult to hold in our hearts. This search allows us to remove the boulders from our hearts. When we make room in our hearts for the Other, our hearts grow LARGER.



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Sharif Abdullah photo: Lisa Norton

All other photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

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2 Responses to Wednesday, 9 February, 2011

  1. Scott Olsen says:

    I have a relative that is very difficult for me to communicate with. Actions taken in the past by this person have created an atmosphere of mistrust. While I feel that I have forgiven this person, I am certainly NOT loving them, and in fact I AVOID them.
    This message has inspired me to reach out to them and search for healing for both of us.
    Thank you.

  2. Sharon Williams says:

    I have a hard time communicating with my boss probably because she sometimes sounds like my mother and father. I feel completely disempowered around her and it has negatively impacted by abiilty to work at this job. I just find myself wanting nothing more than to walk out the door. I make mistakes, I beat myself up about it. I know my boss is trying to help me but, I keep fighting her. It is a vicious cycle. I have to just calm down and figure this out. I know she is in my life to teach me to take more responsibility and control over my career and my life which I have let come to a standstill over the past 6 years.

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