Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.
Rabbi David A. Nelson likes to tell the story of two brothers who went to their rabbi
to settle a longstanding feud. The rabbi got the two to reconcile their differences and
shake hands. As they were about to leave, he asked each one to make a wish for the other
in honor of the Jewish New Year. The first brother turned to the other and said, "I
wish you what you wish me." At that, the second brother threw up his hands and said,
"See, Rabbi, he's starting up again!"
David A. Nelson.
In "Context," Mary Marty retells a parable from the "Eye of the
Needle" newsletter: A holy man was engaged in his morning meditation under a tree
whose roots stretched out over the riverbank. During his meditation he noticed that the
river was rising, and a scorpion caught in the roots was about to drown. He crawled out on
the roots and reached down to free the scorpion, but every time he did so, the scorpion
struck back at him. An observer came along and said to the holy man, "Don't you know
that's a scorpion, and it's in the nature of a scorpion to want to sting?" To which
the holy man replied, 'That may well be, but it is my nature to save, and must I change my
nature because the scorpion does not change its nature?"
Joseph B. Modica.
In The Grace of Giving, Stephen Olford tells of a Baptist pastor during the
American Revolution, Peter Miller, who lived in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and enjoyed the
friendship of George Washington. In Ephrata also lived Michael Wittman, an evil-minded
sort who did all he could to oppose and humiliate the pastor. One day Michael Wittman was
arrested for treason and sentenced to die. Peter Miller traveled seventy miles on foot to
Philadelphia to plead for the life of the traitor. "No, Peter," General
Washington said. "I cannot grant you the life of your friend." "My
friend!" exclaimed the old preacher. "He's the bitterest enemy I have."
"What?" cried Washington. "You've walked seventy miles to save the life of
an enemy? That puts the matter in different light. I'll grant your pardon." And he
did. Peter Miller took Michael Wittman back home to Ephrata--no longer an enemy but a
In 1632, at the Battle of Lutzen during the 30 year's war, King Gustavus Adolphus was
shot in the back while leading his cavalry in a charge against the Catholic armies of the
Holy Roman Empire. Who actually killed him remains an unanswered question. However, many
historical authorities insist that Gustavus must have been killed by one of his own men,
if not accidentally then intentionally by a traitor.
Statistics and Stuff
Politics without principle, pleasure without conscience, wealth without work, knowledge
without character, business without morality, science without humanity, worship without
Mohandas K. Gandhi, on things that will destroy us.
A reporter was interviewing an old man on his 100th birthday. "What are you most
proud of?" he asked. "Well, " said the man, "I don't have an enemy in
the world." "What a beautiful thought! How inspirational!" said the
reporter. "Yep," added the centenarian, "outlived every last one of