Chris, what you are saying makes so much sense. There have been instances where I could not be angry at someone who tried to hurt me (threatened to kill me, actually) because I knew that this person was mentally ill or simply no good. I really believe this was a devil's disciple, and could not help himself. He would ALWAYS make the "wrong choice." He could do nothing but evil. It was his nature.
But how in the world does one "take a beating from someone and still look him in the eyes with love?" What am I missing that I am one of those who can't force myself to wish well one who delivers a blow?"
You point out that "it either naturally arises from a deep commitment to values or it doesn't --" but does that mean I have no commitment to values? I must be so far off the mark as to not be able to recognize any of this notion of "love for one's enemies" as I simply cannot see my way clear to understand that those that I trusted have betrayed me and tried to destroy me.
The addicted devil that pretended to be a "friend" couldn't help himself - or did not want to help himself - given the horrendous environment he was raised in. But I come from an upper-middle class environment of education and religion, and these people are in many ways WORSE thant that self-professed "gutter rat" was. These people are hypocrites to the extreme, and they are in positions of some power. How to "look at them with eyes of love" when they are bent on destroying anyone who stands in their way of the lies that they tell and the hypocrisies they promote? Are we supposed to look at Hitler with "eyes of love?"
I remember reading a story about the letters Gandhi wrote to Hitler, calling him "friend." As if that was going to stop that cruel and heartless, mentally ill madman. Is that what we are supposed to do? How to find compassion for people who "should know better" when it does not arise "naturally?" Are we to have compassion for the pit bulls and the vipers of this world?
And if so, how does that change things? We are smiling at them as we die from their bites?
I am such a novice at all this. I can barely understand a word people are saying here, and I have heard it all my life. The reality is that I know nothing and don't know what good any of this really does. But I can't stop trying. I am grateful for discussions such as these. Maybe light will be shed in the dark corners and rooms in my mind.