Well, I left you hanging didn’t I? And right at the part where I began to apply the Holy Spirit’s guidance! Yes, it got you to come back but more importantly, I hope you walked away wondering how you’d handle Ed and Frank – Your Eds and Franks – we all have them…
If you missed part one, click here… Love Thy Enemy
I began to observe, Ed’s, habits and words. I also did this for my second cell mate as he’d jumped on the persecution wagon with one foot, meaning he was also being decent at times. Frankly, his decent times existed when he wasn’t high on drugs; but I digress. I learned Ed’s schedule and responded by offering to develop a schedule that met everyone’s needs for time alone in the cell. Previously, I’d defend myself by pointing out when I was gone (almost all day) and telling them to deal with me being in the cell from 3:30 until dinner at 5:00pm. Although he had the cell from 6:00am til 3:30pm and from 5:00pm until 8:30pm it caused tension; ‘He needed’ 3:30 until 4:00 and 4:30 until 5:00, so I began to be in the TV room or another cell at these times. I also gave him daily updates on my efforts to relocate. I stopped verbally responding to his verbal attacks and instead walked away. In essence I accepted his hatred, and that I was in the way of his running his ‘business’ out of our cell and gave him what I’d want if I were him, selfish and hateful as he is and difficult as it is to think that way, I gave him space and time and returned love for his hate and persecution. Where the other cellie, Frank, is concerned I noticed he was constantly asking people for sweetener packets at night for his evening coffee. Since I don’t use the stuff I began bringing my two daily packets from breakfast to the cell and giving them to him- an act I still do. Also, I found that he didn’t care if I was in the cell as long as I wasn’t listening to his conversations with his ‘business’ customers so I always worm my MP3 player after lights out – when his customers typically showed up. Finally, I would speak kindly about differing subjects because I heard him tell someone that my giving him and Ed this ‘silent treatment’ was stressful for him. Again, love for hate and persecution.
Within 5 days of my behavior changes I was moved.
The outcomes: Ed told a guy he thought I was, “A good dude” but that he couldn’t live with my offense. – HA! “A good dude”! And Frank told me to my face he thought I was “Cool, I’d live with you if Ed could chillout.” I’ve carried these lessons into my new cell and have continued my actions with Ed and Frank. I guess God feels I’ve learned what I needed in my first cell and I’m continuing in those learnings.
I now see that you can indeed Love Your Enemy and suffer no real loss but instead gain so much. I gained a peace spiritually and worldly both. Imagine using love, not manipulations or defensiveness, as your shield in life as given by Jesus, our Lord and Savior! God is great.
It’s not easy – do it anyway. jdoe
Photo Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205247304