Enemies and Adversaries

An enemy is "an unfriendly or hostile person, one that cherishes hatred, that wishes or seeks to do ill to another, also an adversary, antagonist, opponent, one who hates or opposes a cause, custom, state of things, something that operates prejudicially upon, counteracts the action of."

An adversary is "one who takes up a position of antagonism, or acts in a hostile manner, an opponent, antagonist, an enemy, foe, opposed, antagonistic, hostile, inimical."

Enemies and adversaries provide us with endless initiations. We can never be successful in dealing with enemies or adversaries if we view them in personal terms, or take their speech and actions personally. We can pass every initiation when we realize that they oppose God or a principle we are expressing.

Ruth Johnson, a student and teacher of Edna Lister's work, often quoted what Dr. Lister had told her: "Never try to love what people do. Love people for what they are, the children of God. Love them 'out there,' not up close."

Edna Lister on Enemies and Adversaries

Your personal adversary is the subconscious mind, the seat of emotions. – Edna Lister, The Sermon on the Mount, January 31, 1933.

Pay no attention to seeming enemies. – Edna Lister, September 14, 1938.

Contact the high Power until even your enemies bow before the grace that emanates from the Light in you. – Edna Lister, September 22, 1939.

Greater love has no man than this: That he lay down his life for his enemies. In this all law shall be fulfilled. If a man lay down his life for a friend, it is well, for so shall it be expected of him, and it has been said of old that he shall so do. To give your life for an enemy is the greatest, and your reward shall be exceedingly great, for in this you shall convert all enemies to be friends of God, which is the end of life, to be a friend to your Father, even as He is a friend to you, from the beginning of all law. This shall be the fullness of all sacrifice to be given, none shall be greater in law: First shall come the giving of your life for one you love. Second shall be that giving which gives to your enemy, and it shall be counted the greater of the two. – Edna Lister, November 30, 1939.

Love your enemies. – Matthew 5:44 is sweet incense unto God. Let it burn night and day. – Edna Lister, November 30, 1939.

Watch at all hours for enemies of self. – Edna Lister, November 24, 1939.

Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. – Matthew 5:25. This verse covers all problems with the self. The self is the adversary, Oversoul is the judge, and soul is the officer. Self casts you into prison. Soul lifts you into Light. – Edna Lister, Vows, January 7, 1940.

You can change and be so filled with love that love changes all that touches you and adds it to your power. That is what "Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" means. (Psalm 110:1) – Edna Lister, February 2, 1940.

You may entertain no enemies anytime. You have not one enemy in your life. Not one enemy may enter your life. Always accept, believe and stand, lest you be in danger of the judgment. – Edna Lister, February 26, 1940.

The Light you send to those who feel they must be your enemies, past, present or future, will uncover their taints of darkness. – Edna Lister, February 10, 1942.

When you assume the role of "judge," you think in terms of enemies, and those so declared surely become adversaries who then judge you. – Edna Lister, Five Keys to the Kingdom, 1945.

Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him. – Matthew 5:25. Work at this law until you have no enemy to agree with, no wrong to forgive, no harm or hurt ever given or spoken to you. When you accept all that the balance of law gives you as yours, and value it as precious jewels, you will be free of the small self. Then only do you truly accept all that comes to you as your own. – Edna Lister, March 12, 1945.

An open mind always stands ready to receive a gift from every adversary. – Edna Lister, Six Creative Laws: The Keys of the Kingdom, September 1, 1945.

You create most enemies by making the other fellow look stupid or as knowing less than you. – Edna Lister, June 27, 1947.

When you love the enemy with the love of God for God, he eventually becomes your footstool. – Edna Lister, June 3, 1948.

"You have no enemies" says the law. You are your own worst enemy, unless you are all-gracious, all-seeing, all-justice tempered with mercy and compassion. – Edna Lister, April 15, 1950.

You have five seconds in which to declare the adversary good where he is. – Edna Lister, I Remember, October 8, 1950.

Thousands of men and women in the business world have quit at the brink of success because some detractor spoke a harsh word that demoralized them. You cannot kid yourself by being humble on the outside and hurt or angry inside. Humbleness is not humility, which is the essence of God's Love in action. Bite your tongue under trying circumstances. Look upon the adversary with true, deep compassion and lift. – Edna Lister, Prove Me Now, October 28, 1951.

No one gets anywhere until he has fifty active, powerful, dynamic enemies. Lift your head above the crowd; you can never achieve until you rise above your adversaries. – Edna Lister, Ye Are Gods, November 30, 1952.

People who say, "I cannot agree," still believe in enemies. To believe in an enemy creates an adversary, a dark cloud of force, an entity that clings to you. If you hold a single enemy-thought in your subconscious, you will create an adversary. – Edna Lister, I Accept, June 27, 1954.

You subject yourself to the idea of outer enemies but you, yourself, are your greatest enemy. You create the adversary who rides you with a whip and spurs. Each alone must conquer the enemy-idea, the enemy of self. No power on earth can make you have an enemy if you refuse to accept the enemy idea or give it form and substance. Another may tell you that you have an enemy but you create it. – Edna Lister, The Well of Living Waters, July 31, 1955.

You subject yourself to enemy ideas. No one on the outside can ever create your adversary, yet they may "suggest" them to you with a look, a word or an action that tempts you to mistrust. – Edna Lister, Living Waters, September 4, 1955.

Enemies advertise you. – Edna Lister, December 17, 1956.

No enemy can stand against you when you learn to lift them into Light. Light will bury them in the compassionate love you bear them and the way you cover their transgressions. – Edna Lister, November 3, 1957.

You are your own enemy with idle words, sorry thinking and negative expressions. – Edna Lister, February 5, 1958.

Your real enemies are fear, hate and resentment. – Edna Lister, March 13, 1958.

When you truly hunger and thirst to be one with God, you forget every enemy and adversary. – Edna Lister, As I See the World, June 15, 1958.

You must admit that you are your own worst enemy. – Edna Lister, September 1, 1958.

You find that you have no enemies when you ascend. – Edna Lister, As God Sees Me, June 8, 1958.

One way God gets people back in heaven is to let your persecutors concentrate on you. If you act as loving as God, love's Light will all heal them. – Edna Lister, October 9, 1958.

Be diligent because your adversary the devil walks about, seeking whom he may devour. – 1 Peter 5:8. Your little self is the devil that waits to tempt, drag you down and devour you. – Edna Lister, Imagination Is Your Crown, June 21, 1959.

You will have adversaries until you follow the law of "What is that to thee? Follow me." – John 21:22. You need not love what people do, but lift and declare that the result of their action is Light; step aside and let the Power do the work. – Edna Lister, God Is Safe and Dependable, June 5, 1960.

This is the secret of making enemies your friends, just say, "You are so wonderful," no matter what they've done, even if they spit on you. The day comes when they dry up, spit no more and return. – Edna Lister, March 25, 1963.

Stand in Light, grin at your enemies, and they can do nothing about it. "I can last one day longer than this test. This, too, shall pass away under the power of love." – Edna Lister, April 11, 1963.

Your enemies are your footstools. The more they express their hatred, the greater God can invoke the laws of protection for you. – Edna Lister, December 13, 1965.

When an adversary approaches, you must know instantly what is right or wrong for you, then stand silently and hold fast to your own right way. – Edna Lister, Five Important Steps in Ascension, 1968.

Stand, gird your loins, take a deep breath and say, "You are good," to leave your enemy speechless. – Edna Lister, October 28, 1969.

The adversary is the petty little self's substance that you have invested in everything. There is no difference between a country and a man; you invest soul substance when you criticize them, and give them a chunk of your soul to live on. – Edna Lister, From Surrender of Self to Soul Ascension, May 16, 1971.

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Treatments for Perceived Enemies or Adversaries

To agree with an adversary means to love God more than self, reach up to the heart of God and love Him. Then agree with your adversary by saying, "How wonderful you are." In the business world, you can mentally shout it. – Edna Lister, I Accept, June 27, 1954.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. – Psalm 23. Change this to read "in the presence of mine loved ones" as a prayer treatment for those burdened with "enemies. Use it every morning. – Edna Lister, New Thought: The New World, June 29, 1958.

Put the adversary in a sphere of Light. – Edna Lister, Before the Beginning, I Am, November 3, 1963.

Give no thought to the adversary except, "This is good. You are good. Let there be Light. I love you." – Edna Lister, Am I Strong to Endure, December 18, 1966.

To say, "How wonderful you are," to an adversary lifts you out of slavery to the world and into your own sun center of Light, where nothing can touch you. To use praise for an adversary frustrates him until he forgets his original intention and departs. – Edna Lister, Five Important Steps in Ascension, 1968.

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New Testament on Enemies and Adversaries

Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. – Matthew 5:25.

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. – Matthew 5:44.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. – Matthew 10:34-36.

Every kingdom [consciousness] divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool – Matthew 22:44.

Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. – Luke 6:35.

Behold, I [Christ] give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. – Luke 10:19.

When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison. I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite. – Luke 12:58‑59.

David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. – Luke 20:41‑43.

I [Christ] will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. – Luke 21:15.

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. – Luke 23:33-34.

Every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man [Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. – Hebrews 10:11-13.

The friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. – James 4:4.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. – 1 Peter 5:8.

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Old Testament on Enemies and Adversaries

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. – Psalms 110:1.

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Enemies and Adversaries in Other Sacred Writings

Separate yourself from your enemies, and take heed of your friends. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 6:13.

A friend cannot be known in prosperity: and an enemy cannot be hidden in adversity. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 12:8.

Never trust an enemy: for as iron rusts, so is his wickedness. Though he humble himself, yet take good heed and beware of him, and you shall be to him as if you had wiped a looking glass, and you shall know that his rust has not been altogether wiped away. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 12:10-11.

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Etymology of enemy: Latin inimicus : in-, "not" + amicus, "friend."

Etymology of adversary: Latin adversarius, "enemy," from adversus, "against."

Enemies and adversaries provide initiations.


Man's wisdom is his best friend; folly his worst enemy. – William Temple


Temple, William. The Works of Sir William Temple. London: J. Brotherton, 1814, 531.

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, editor. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981.

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See Agreeing and Adjusting

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