Love Thy Enemy

I am by no means a religious person (much to the dismay of some members of my family). But while visiting my family I usually go to church with them. I’m supportive of their devotion. It’s where they find happiness. I want to spend time with my parents. Going to church is one of those quality times I spend with them. Plus, my mom enjoys showing me off (I’m not sure why, yet), and I enjoy meeting their friends.

This year, I tagged along with my parents to their adult Bible Study. It’s a quick, short meeting held between the early morning mass and later mass. They read the week’s readings out loud and then discuss them. Attending the study group, I was thoughtful about the intentions of the reading.

The first reading was from the Book of Samuel (stop being proud, Mom, I looked it up). It was about David finding King Saul with his spear, and instead of killing his king, he took his spear. The idea that David would not kill someone anointed by God, even though he would have killed David, is a powerful message. It went along well with the Gospel.

The Gospel was Jesus’ sermon about loving your neighbor. Again, I’m not a religious person, but honestly, I found the reading pertinent. Especially in today’s world. And oddly, with myself and ZooFit. I’ll share it with you and then explain.

Luke 6: 27-38

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

It’s easy to love your friends and family. It’s harder to love your enemies. In today’s world, where I feel we have been divided into “I’m Right” and “No, I’m Right”, and anonymous social media allowing anyone to say whatever they like, we’ve become more polar and non-understanding.

But honestly, I’m not even that concerned with the politics this reading implied. I don’t have any “enemies” personally. I have people in my life I don’t especially get along with. There are a few people who test my patience, but no one I would ever consider an enemy. 

No, the only person I consider my enemy is myself. The way I treat myself when I look in the mirror. The frustration I feel for not maintaining my weight. My disappointment for still dealing with injuries and setbacks.

But I don’t punish myself for these transgressions. That wouldn’t help anything anyway. So, I treat this horrible enemy with kindness and positive motivation.

Which brings me to my second thought on today’s reading. When we treat our enemies with kindness and positivity, eventually, they will no longer be our enemies. Honestly, I think this is what Jesus was talking about all along. I’m sure I’m not the first person to figure this out. It’s why my mom constantly berated me whenever I said I hated someone when I was younger. She told me to pray for them (I didn’t- not my style). But the principle is the same. Praying for someone (or something) doesn’t actually change the person or thing you are praying for. It changes YOU.

Focusing on the positive in our fitness doesn’t just change our bodies. It changes our mentality. So, while I am frustrated with my self-image currently, I’m not busy punishing myself, I’m busy working on plan B, or C, or whatever it takes to reach my goals.

Because if you only reward yourself and stay motivated when you are on a high, then how do you cope when you are low? It’s no different than treating your friends well but your enemies poorly.

So, today, I’m grateful for visiting my parents, and their Bible Study. For showing me a new side to staying positive.

Love your enemies. Even when your worst enemy is yourself. Especially when your worst enemy is yourself.

Fitness is a journey. Make sure you take time to appreciate it and love it.

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