May all my enemies go to . . .

November 6, 2004

As a teenager, I read the poem by Hilaire Belloc

Lines for a Christmas Card

May all my enemies go to hell,
Noel, noel, noel, noel.

And I laughed, even though I knew it was bad. And in my secret heart of hearts, I still laugh, because it’s concise, clever, and speaks exactly my thoughts. It’s sad but true; I realize after thirty-plus years in the camp of Christianity that I am still at heart a pagan. When I don’t get my own way, I put on the Christian face, even ask God to help me forgive, try to let the vengeance be His. Yet in my heart the tape recorder clicks on and the lines recite–may all my enemies go to hell–NOW–express.

I don’t suppose there would be many left on the earth to be my enemies were I left in charge. I would be a god like Calvin–nordic, cold, vengeful. Not like the one true God (even though sometimes I wish he would be, at least as far as my enemies are concerned). If I have to be held to the same standard as everyone else though, I’m glad he is longsuffering and patient. And most of all good.

It may be that all my enemies will go to hell, but it won’t be because I wished them there. It may be that I never showed them there was an alternative. It may be that my life never made heaven more appealing than hell. The fact that I can sit calmly and think about all my enemies going to hell says more about me than it says about my enemies.

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