But it’s hard!
So how about trying this first step: praying for those who hate you?
Choose specific prayers - for example, a decade of the Rosary. If you set aside a few minutes each day to pray for the person (or persons) who hate you, for at least one month, you’ll gradually find yourself enjoying the following unexpected blessings.
What Makes Praying For Your Enemies So Powerful?
1. It gives you benevolent power
By doing something good for your enemies, you diminish their ability to hurt you.
Sending ‘good vibes’ their way blocks the ‘bad vibes’ they’re sending your way.
Love conquers hate: it’s that simple.
2. It reduces their negative power
By praying for individuals who intensely dislike you, you allow them to occupy only a tiny time-slot during your day. Then you’re done with them: they no longer dominate your thoughts for hours on end.
No one likes anybody to hate them, and praying for enemies eliminates their power to upset you.
3. You gain peace
The angels didn’t say “peace on earth and goodwill to all men”, as is commonly misquoted. They actually said: “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14 New Living Translation.
God is pleased with us if we let go of resentment and do something good for those who hate us. That is the path to peace.
4. You’ll feel good about yourself
I’m not talking about being a ‘goody-two-shoes’ here. I’m talking about the good and faithful servant who has done his duty, and can sleep at night because he has a clean conscience and wishes no one ill will.
5. You’ll discover a hidden strength in yourself
As you experience the above benefits, you’ll learn that you are much stronger than you thought and see yourself in a new light.
It’s not just the saints who can overcome their animosity to those who hurt them. You, too, have the strength to start out on the path to holiness.
Avoiding a Potential Pitfall
When we begin praying for those who hate us, there is the danger of feeling superior to them.
A good way to avoid this is to examine the reasons for their dislike. The answers keep us humble and prevent us from thinking of them as ‘bad people’ and ourselves as ‘good people.’
Perhaps their circumstances are not as good as ours, and they are jealous of us? If so, we need to feel empathy, rather than animosity.
Maybe we’ve done something to hurt them – intentionally or unintentionally? Do we need to ask them for forgiveness? Even if we’re not yet ready to do this, being aware of the need to do so will keep us from feeling ‘holier than thou.’
Praying for our enemies brings many blessings. By exercising our benevolent power over them, we reduce their negative power over us. We gain peace and feel good about ourselves in a humble way.
With the discovery that we do have the strength to become holier, we’ll approach baby Jesus on the day of His birth with confident trust that He will help us fulfill His commandments of love and forgiveness - towards those who love us and those who don’t.