HomeOpinion & AnalysisEven your enemies, learn to love them

Even your enemies, learn to love them

mathabelazitha/the anvil:BY ZIFISO MASIYE

“Vengeance is mine. Neither hate nor be bitter with your brother, no matter how he has injured you. For when you hate, you must know, it is me and my Father in heaven that you hurt.”

Both to my bosom friends and to my back-stabbers, I owe a debt of love. For look just how imperfect, how impure I am, yet God found me and thought me well suited for His pure purpose. Who are we, therefore, to stand on high and holy ground and to judge harshly on our brethren?

Lingadlephani! Linganinani. Kodwa xhasanani lithandane.

I love deeply and I love sincerely. My whole system gets shocked and horrified when a brother that I count on turns his spear on me. Betrayal is just so off-putting to the soul. So is wanton jealousy, the back-stabbing and the social backbiting that’s become such annoying background music to our lives and relationships. Yet indeed, these are the most defining characteristics of our toxic community.

So many times I would throw a tantrum, delete people’s names from my phone and from my heart. Block them. Swear. Curse their cunning scheming! “Like, really, What kind of a brother, a friend does this to their own. All I have been is kind, good, generous to them!” My heart would bleed!

But all that was all childish temper, often poorly informed by blind faith in the limitless capacity of humans for their love of justice and for whatever is positive and virtuous.

Hey, my experience in life has taught me to simply try my best, but to understand that I am myself imperfect and to many people I’m actually the example of bad!

Shutting out family, friends, people for their poor judgements in life, whether acknowledged or not… for their selfish choices and willingness to sacrifice me would actually leave me with no family, with no friends, with no colleagues and scant society around me. Hence, I just embrace friends and family for who they are and whatever little they do bring to my table.

Humans are nothing but some cacophony of faults! An attempt to eliminate “useless” people, sly aunties, scheming sisters, irresponsible fathers, bad moms, divisive brothers, and bad friends from my life often resulted in solitude and very long spells of a lonesome and lonely life. There are no perfect people around. There are even fewer that will or can be consistently perfect to fit your narrow and convenient template. It is a dysfunctional social disease to give up on people and retreat to your so-called “own space!”

The pleasure of your own peaceful company is something desirable now and then. It gives you rare, insightful moments to listen to your soul and the great sounds of the non-human ecosystem. But that was never meant to be anyone’s permanent place of abode.

Yet God urges… No, He instructs that I deliberately go out there and grow relationships with other human beings and love them as He loves me. And forgive them over and over again just as he does forgive me. My own undying faith in the capacity of love
. . . the Jesus brand of Love always draws me back to the people, the hoi poloi… a friend tells me it’s an innate appetite for danger.

Thus, I have learnt to smile sincerely even at the snakes around me. I will keep smiling and playing with “friends”, even whom I consider most dangerous to me.
I’m mature and more alert though. I simply keep good profiles that tell me the basic characteristics of my circle of contacts, family and friends and what it is I can expect from each and what should not catch me off-guard.

I know generally who is good when things are good and I jus want a good laugh, but I can’t trust him/her when chips are down…the fair-weather friend. I know who is good ebhawa, ebhoreni or when I miss some cheap talk, we all do now and then… I know who may be irreplaceable when I need a spiritual Philip or some intellectual stimulation, but I could never trust near my wife or girls. I know who is a perennial user, who may love me but worship money enough that they are willing to shoot me if I stood between them and a dollar. I know who makes their mileage out of rubbishing other people—the very manner they think they win my favour by slinging mud at others, is what they do of me the moment they are in the company of Jo Block! The psychologist and sociologist in me have come to enjoy thinking through and observing the value systems of my family members, my social contacts and all my friends.

You get the thrill to anticipate certain behaviour patterns and watch them unfold— who feeds from validation by society, who seeks personal benefit from the efforts of others— the one who thrives on preaching good theory in public but ahlale elibophanisa imisila in the inboxes of your lives! You get to know with time this one uluma ephozisa, this one loves me sincerely and I can count on him in all seasons. I know who I may confide in with my deepest fears and darkest secrets and who will broadcast them to the world at the first instance. This one will steal from me when I blink. This one is a back-biter and mean—they can’t help being a jerk! Yet I have mastered the strength to love them all as if they were all saints and angels.

I have a file of their demons and their good parts. I pray for them as I must. I shuffle them around like a deck of cards; Joker when I need joker; Ace when I need Ace! No stress.

This way, I never generate any more frustration or anger at the multiple madness of society or the recurrent stupidity and malice of the people around me. I never allow them to deny me my God-gifted affection for them. Ungahlala ufile phela ngeBP! And I no longer have the need to really shut the chaff out. They are my people. I avoid, avert, circumvent and enjoy their daily dramas at a carefully managed arm’s-length and still keep them as impintshi zami, great sisters, amazing brothers, wonderful aunties and all.

All the time I do not change. I pray for the power to preach to them practically by ever being good, being fair and doing good.

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