The Ladder of Perfection: Love of Enemies

St. Tikhon the Wonderworker of Voronezh and Zadonsk 1724-1783

This is the ladder by which Christians ascend toward perfection, that is toward love of enemies. What, then, Christian? When you are commanded to love your enemies, and to do good to those that hate you– commanded by Him Who created you and redeemed the lost by His blood and death, and Who holds your death and life in His hand– will you consent and forgive him who offended you? If an earthly king had commanded you not only to forgive your neighbor his offense, but also to serve him, or else be put to death, which had you better choose? To die or to forgive your neighbor? I hope that you would rather wish to forgive and serve your neighbor than to die. The Heavenly King commands you not only to forgive him that offended you, but also to love your enemies, and to do good to those that hate you. Otherwise eternal death will follow those that do not hear the commandment of the Heavenly King. Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven (Mt. 7:21).

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