God gives us so many opportunities to love our enemies. How often do we take him up on those offers?
One of those opportunities to love came to us yesterday. Independent counsel Robert Mueller delivered to the Attorney General his final report on potential crimes involving the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign.
The lede of that story was this: no new indictments.
- Rep. Adam Schiff announced that he “rejects” the lack of further indictments and threatened to subpoena Mr. Mueller
- Rachel Maddow cancelled her vacation and cried on the air
- Chris Matthews went berserk, essentially accusing Mueller of letting of the Trump family get by with murder and lamenting the fact that none of Trump’s children will go to prison
- Rank-and-file leftists on Twitter threatened to take up arms, to burn the country down, to violently overthrow the government (many of which tweets have since been removed, either by Twitter or by the authors)
- One prominent leftist vowed to release Mueller’s home address and phone number so the American people could personally express their outrage
In fact, reading the Twitter timeline under the search phrase #mueller last night inspired sadness. Sadness in the form of shared grief. Grief that we are to meet with love.
You might be asking why we should respond with love to the left’s emotional meltdown. And you should.
When you think about it, liberals, even some who are friends of ours, have behaved abysmally since the 2016 election. They have not acted out of love, but out of purified, weaponized hate. From Antifa terrorists beating innocent old men to crooked cops releasing illegal-alien rapists to rape little girls again, the left in America seems to have already begun burning the country to the ground.
Why should we respond to them with love? Why not laugh at their pain? Why not get a little schadenfreude out of the whole, sordid affair?
Frankly, I don’t think we can avoid feeling some joy in the left’s pain. As I said in last week’s post on love, we can’t actually control our emotions. We can only control how we respond to our emotions. So, yes, I giggled when I heard that Rachel Maddow cried on the air last night. I wish I’d seen Chris Matthews’s meltdown. I smiled at Adam Schiff’s 180-degree turn against Robert Mueller. I got a little schadenfreude.
I even acted on my glee. I sent some friends a text pointing out the depths of hatred being expressed by liberals on Twitter. If you’re keeping score, I giggled, smiled, and texted out of something akin to hatred, not out of love.
Then, I took a break from the news to say my daily Rosary. I suppose that prayerful interlude provided me a touch of actual grace from God, as I emerged from my prayer a little more humble.
While saying the rosary, I began seeing in my mind some of my own tweets and blog posts when the Supreme Court ruled in June of 2012 that Obamacare individual mandates were Constitutional as taxes.
Did I sound much different in 2012 than Rachel Maddow sounded last night? Were my tweets then more civil and positive than the tweets I pointed out to my friends last night?
No and no. Maybe I didn’t call for wholesale destruction of the country, but I expressed on June 25, 2012, plenty of pain to give delight to my liberal enemies.
And with that little vision I realized that the yesterday’s news was another of God’s offers to let me respond with love instead of selfish schadenfreude.
Two Reason to Love Them Now
There are two great reasons to love our enemies in their time of pain, but you really only need one. I’ll give that one last.
The first reason to will the good of the other (in this case, the other being our enemies) is because it’s unexpected and, therefore, more effective at turning hearts.
Everyone expects us to gloat and rub liberals’ noses in it. No one expects us to pray that God relieve our enemies of their suffering or, at least, that their suffering is redemptive, driving them closer to God by teaching them not to rely on mere creatures for satisfaction and happiness.
No greater good could accrue to a person, friend or foe, than to be driven by events into Christ’s waiting arms. Praying Mueller’s report drives people towards God is an act of pure love. All the more pure if it pains us to do it.
The second reason to show love to our enemies when they’re suffering is because Christ commanded us to do so.
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
Yes, it’s hard to do. Much of what Christ commanded is hard to do. It’s hard to go last. It’s hard to serve. It’s very hard to love our enemies.
But love isn’t an emotion, it’s a response. Love is from God and it’s given to each of us according to our willingness to give it away. When we act out of love, God gives us twice in return. This is what is meant when our Blessed Mother says in her beautiful Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46). By loving our enemies, we magnify God’s graces, God’s love, in the world.
For the Love of God, Love Our Enemies
Finally, we still don’t know the details of the Mueller report. It could contain information that sends conservatives to Twitter to express our rage and anger. We don’t know.
By building up graces through loving our enemies now, we build resilience for the inevitable bad news that will one day befall us. Maybe the whole Russia hoax will be nothing but good news from now on. But bad news greets us all. Therefore, it’s in moments when our enemies suffer that we should join in their suffering to store up treasures in heaven, treasures we can use when the bad news accrues to us.
I’ll end with a simple prayer for those who are angry and sad that Mueller didn’t indict the Trump family:
Lord, have mercy on those who wish harm on the Trump family and on Trump supporters. Remember that they, too, are weak and fragile creatures. Send your Holy Spirit to kindle in them the fire of your love. And renew our store of love so that we may continue to love you with all our hearts and love our neighbors, your other children, as we love ourselves. Amen.