By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Great Secret: Do Not Let Your Enemies Change You

Yes, we all have enemies of one sort or another. Even Jesus, the perfect one, had enemies; so how much more do we enjoy that experience (this argument is in the form: if the great suffered X, then it is no surprise that we the lowly also suffer it; it is the inverse of the old rabbinic form of argument "light and heavy").

Enemies (and you can also read "the Enemy"; let those who can see the meaning, see it) most threaten us by changing our identities. Do we become angry or vicious like them? Do we lose our heads like them? Or do we shrewdly refuse to take the bait? Do we practice what they do? (The advice not to take the bait is proverbial; I believe it really caught my attention when someone quoted it from a book written by a Brian Hollins).

In addition, enemies can be turned to good use: I will not be like that; I now know that I should do precisely what disturbs the enemy; I know where to concentrate my energies.

One of the great secrets--learned by many through experience--is how to turn the enemy to good account: do not be like him or her, and, in fact, run in the other direction. And, by the way, your enemy may not be maliciously targeting you at all--the enemy may be just being the negativity that comes naturally, often because he or she was first a victim of another enemy. Enemies are not for hating, they are for learning and even for compassion, as long as the compassion is shrewd and not obtuse.

(Image in public domain)