Palle Veje Rasmussen
Danish philosopher and high-school-teacher

Love your enemies!

“Love your enemies” is not just a message, but a profound call to action based on forgiveness and altruism. This principle has its roots in many religious and philosophical traditions, especially in Christianity, where Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount – which appears, among other things, in the Gospel of Matthew 5:44 – instructs his followers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. This requires voluntarily forgiving those who have caused harm. To show kindness and generosity to all, even those who may wish to harm. Making an effort to understand why someone might act hostile. Promoting peace rather than exacerbating conflict.

The principle of loving one’s enemies goes against our instinctive inclination to protect ourselves and seek revenge. It requires a conscious effort and courage to go against fear, anger and desire for revenge. But this approach can lead to reconciliation and understanding rather than conflict and division.

The phrase “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” comes from Exodus 21:24. The term has been understood as a principle of proportionality in justice.

31,000 bombing raids, 218 every single day, have left incalculable consequences: death and destruction in an unrecognizable Gaza. The structures of society have collapsed; children are deprived of education and many suffer from severe malnutrition. Millions of Palestinians are forced to move around inside Gaza’s borders like cattle, survival becoming their only goal.

Is this a proportional punishment?

Does it live up to the ideal of an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth?

Don’t you punish the wrong ones?

One could ask where charity is in Israel? Jesus spoke to the hearts of the Jews when he encouraged them to love both friends and enemies. Helping them, giving them food and shelter, and taking care of their health is truly an expression of charity. Has the story of the Good Samaritan been forgotten?

The UN Security Council, which represents the world community, recently passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. And the International Court of Justice in The Hague has clearly called on Israel to ensure that emergency aid reaches those in need. These appeals come from a place of law and humanity, asking for reason and action in times of need. An appeal from the world community to Israel to show mercy and charity.

The irony of history cannot be overlooked – those who once stood on the brink of extinction themselves are now accused of repeating the horrors of the past.

The efforts of the Israeli forces to reduce civilian casualties should be recognized and the blame for the widespread suffering placed on those who initiated the conflict on 7 October and have since used civilians as shields. Despite this, it is clear that charity should lead the way – a teaching that Jesus preached. This kind of love dictates that innocence should be protected and that enmity should be met with mercy.

Charity should not only apply to those closest to you.

About the Author
I’m a Danish philosopher, have been written a book about formation in the high school-education system.
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