Allan Kardec

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3. If the principle of charity is to love one 5 neighbours, then to love one 5 enemies is the most sublime application of this same principle, seeing that the possession of this virtue represents one of the greatest victories which can be achieved against selfishness and pride.

However, there is usually a misunderstanding in relation to the meaning of the word 'love' in this situation. When He spoke, Jesus did not mean that each one of us should have the same tenderness for an enemy as would be felt for a brother, sister or friend. Tenderness presupposes confidence; well, no one can deposit confidence in another person knowing that they bear malice; no one can show effusive friendship knowing that the other person is likely to abuse the situation. Between people who have no confidence amongst themselves there cannot be the same manifestations of sympathy which exist between those who share the same ideas. In short, no one can feel the same pleasure when they are with an enemy as would be felt when in the company of a friend.

The diversity of feelings in these two very different circumstances is the result of a physical law, which is the assimilation and repulsion of vibrations. An evil thought produces a vibrationary current which causes an unpleasant impression. A good thought encompasses us with a very agreeable emanation. This is the reason for the different sensations which are experienced on the approximation of a friend or an enemy. So then, to love one's enemy cannot signify that there should be no difference between the affection for an enemy and that for a friend. If this precept seems difficult to put into practice, perhaps impossible, this is only because it was falsely understood that Jesus had ordered us to give both friends and enemies an equal place in our hearts. Seeing that the restrictions of the human language oblige us to use the same term to express different shades of a sentiment, it is then necessary to establish these differences according to the various cases.

Therefore, to love one's enemies does not mean showing affection which would not be within our nature, as contact with an enemy makes our heart beat in an entirely different manner to the way it beats on contact with a friend. To love one's enemy means we should not hate, nor bear rancour against them, nor desire vengeance. It means to forgive all the evil they have caused without hidden thoughts and without conditions. It means to not put obstacles in the way of a reconciliation and to wish them well, instead of bad things. It is to feel joy, instead of regret, at the good things that may come their way; to help them whenever possible and to abstain by words or acts from everything which might prejudice them. Finally, it means to always return goodness for evil without any intention to humiliate. Whosoever can proceed in this manner fulfils the conditions of the commandment: Love your enemies.

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