Battling The Enemy And Why You Should Offer Your Love
Have you ever had a difficult tenant? I think anyone who has rented their home might have a horror story. You open your house and home for people to live in. You trust them to cherish it as you do. But what if they don't? What if they are rude? What if they are uncooperative? How do you forgive them?
Together with my family, we live on a farm. We also own and run an additional farming property along with my brother-in-law and his wife. On one of these farms, we have a rental house where a difficult tenant had been living for several years. It is my job to communicate with our tenants.
Even though this couple paid their rent faithfully every month, it was little compensation for the complaints I would receive from the woman. Her demanding, rude, and profane texts, as well as uncooperative behaviour, was challenging at the best of times. We tried to think of ways to have them evicted, but the laws are in favour of the tenants, so our attempts failed.
Recently to our delight, she informed us they were moving. However, they did not leave silently. After making more unrealistic demands that we were not willing to meet, she decided to take me to the landlord and tenant tribunal.
When It Comes To Thinking About Our Enemies Our First Instinct Is To Be The Victim
At first, I felt like a victim. I was angry and wanted to fight back with all I had. I had thoughts like "Oh ya, well watch what I can come up with, you'll wish you did not mess with me!" I fantasized about ways I was going to get back at her and then imagined how satisfying it was going to feel when the judicator decided she owed us money instead. Awe yes, the sweet victory of revenge!
Vengeful Fantasies Are Draining
I also noticed how exhausting these thoughts and fantasies were. I saw how my heart would beat faster when I was thinking about her and the upcoming tribunal. I noticed that I felt like I was her emotional puppet. I was draining myself over someone else's actions, and I did not like how that felt. I decided I did not want to feel trapped like this, but how could I cut the puppet strings?
Then I reminded myself that Jesus said: "Love your enemies." This is not about tolerating, being a doormat, being a good person, or just trying to keep the peace. It is about going within and finding compassion for ourselves so that we can extend it to others. It is about seeing the light in another, no matter what they have said or done. It is about understanding who they truly are, not the story we have about them.
So when I felt myself getting angry with her about the upcoming tribunal, I stopped. I then took a deep breath and asked to see the situation clearly. I wanted to see this in a way that would release me from my discomfort.
What Happens When We Investigate Our Anger
When I first did this, instead of seeing an angry, difficult woman, I saw a frightened little girl in a woman's body. A little girl who was projecting her anger and feelings of unworthiness onto whoever crossed her path. Looking at the situation differently did not excuse this woman's behaviour. Instead, it allowed me to connect to HER rather than to the story I had about her.
Extending Your Enemies Empathy
When I connected to her with compassion, I realized that she was doing the best she could. I realized that she must have painful and frightening beliefs about the world. What strongly came to me was fear around anyone who appears to have some authority over her. Do I know this to be true? Did she tell me this? No, but when I got quiet and set my intention to connect to her and see past her angry behaviours, this is what came to me, like whispers in the wind.
I instantly felt peace.
I felt a connection with her that I never thought possible. Then I felt freedom. She had not changed her behaviour at all. She had not apologized, and she did not drop her complaint against me. Yet, I was able to cut the puppet strings. She was no longer in control of my emotions. I was in control. I had been all along.
The night before the tribunal, I sat quietly with my eyes closed and visualized her in my mind. I felt so much of her pain and fear that I had a feeling; she was not even truly aware of herself. I sent her love and then asked and trusted that whatever is best for all, is what will happen.
My husband Scott went with me to the tribunal. I was not surprised when she did not appear. The case was dismissed.
Why We Should Love Our Enemy
Martin Luther King also advocated loving your enemy. He said, "Love is the only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend." I did not make a new friend, but I did release an enemy who I had allowed to take up far too much mental and emotional space within me.
Do you experience physical and mental turmoil over someone in your life? Do you notice your blood pressure rise when you think about what someone said or did? Are you waiting endlessly on an apology, change of behaviour, or change of heart for you to be at peace?
Why wait any longer?
Find love and compassion within yourself, extend it to the other, and set yourself free.