Monday, January 6, 2014

30 Days of Forgiveness - Day 5 - Forgiveness Focus - Enemies


"I destroy my enemy when I make him my friend." --Abraham Lincoln

Most of us probably wouldn't admit to having "an enemy" after the age of 8 or so, maybe high school at the latest, but sometimes people we encounter can feel like enemies.

Sometimes the person who feels like our enemy is our partner, or our best friend, or our child or sometimes even our Self.

Other times our enemy is someone we don't even know: the woman who bumps into us in the grocery store and doesn't apologize, the man who honks loudly at us in traffic, or an unknown person halfway around the world who doesn't share our values or our world view.

Whether you call a person your enemy or not, I believe we all have people who feel like our enemies, at least some of the time.

This summer I had the privilege to travel to Tokyo, Japan with my son and his fifth grade class. A few days into the trip we dropped the kids off at a school in the suburbs of Tokyo to stay with a host family for five days.

From the moment we arrived at the school, the students and teachers and families greeted us like long lost friends, despite our history as enemies.

When we met again a few days later to celebrate the end of the homestay together I stood off to the side and watched as families greeted each other and kids said "farewell," to their new brothers and sisters.

Tears came to my eyes and I was completely overwhelmed knowing that this would not have been possible a mere fifty years ago. And I was so proud of our two countries for all of the hard work - and all of the forgiveness - that made this moment possible for our family.

Later that summer my son's host father wrote a card to us in which he said pretty much the same thing.

Today I challenge you to think of someone who feels like your enemy, or has at some point in the past, and try to make them your friend through forgiveness.

They may never be a friend you'll tell a secret to, or invite to tea, but by shifting the energy around your relationship, perhaps they can feel more like a friend than like an enemy when you bring them to mind. 

And just like that, your enemy has been destroyed.

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