Monday, November 30, 2009

love thy neighbour...


"love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you........"


The other day, I had a conversation with a friend about the difficulty we humans have in applying "love thy neighbour" consistently.  We agreed that it is one of the most trampled on golden rule in life.  Why do people behave the way they do?  Why is it so difficult to accept how some people behave the way they do?  Let me turn it onto myself.......... why do I behave the way I do?  And why is it so difficult for people to accept how I behave the way I do?

What gets in the way of acceptance....... of living a life of loving thy neighbour?

Feelings.........
Opinions.....
Judgement.......
Ego driven reactions.......
A sense of feeling threatened.....
Misunderstandings...
Misread actions....
Perceived aggression.....
Lack of Confidence
A sense of Bravado..... used as a defence.
Guilt
Embarrassment
Misinterpreted intentions....
Confusion and oversensitivity.
WE take things too personally.
Unforgiving attitude

Past hurts stirred up
Fear.


We impose our responses from a place of pure feeling, and if our emotions are flooding our brains, its difficult to think straight..... to interpret the messages in any other way except through one narrow lens sabotaged by heightened emotions.  Our filtering systems grow dusty particles from past exchanges, past triggering experiences.  What seems like a separate incident during an interchange is often just the tip of deep iceberg feelings.

Love comes in a variety of flavours.  CS Lewis places Love into four categories.....Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity.  Affection rings out to give to another.  We express our affection to everyone from strangers, first encounters and people on the street to others whom we know within our circle of community.  Friendship is companionship with someone you have much in common with.  Eros is intimate love.  And Charity represents the unconditional love we pass on as God does.  This is where "love thy neighbour" derives from.   

The four loves are not separate entities.  They really aren't like petals.  Rather, they are intertwining links that impact and enhance one another.  They also have much in common.  Lewis writes,  "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."


"Love is a doing word," wrote Pip on his blog yesterday ....... If you don't exercise it, it will lose any strength, any ooomph, any magic.  You run the risk of never fully living out loud, surprised by joy.  Like Lewis states, if you don't risk giving love, you will become impenetrable.  

The problem with the doing is that it may leading to the bruising.  It's a bit of a conundrum.   Entanglements weep frustrations...... if you've been burned by experiences when love led to your heart being wrung out, there's a good chance you will be very hesitant to do it again.  Love thy neighbour FEELS like an impossibility.  Charity is held back, embraced by the fear of being hurt.   Can't DO if you can't see beyond the barriers brought one by those misinterpretations of behaviour. 


I don't know how one can undo past weeping entanglements that produce the feelings that choke the ability to reach out and love their neighbour, except to let them be.  Easier said than done, but sometimes its the only way.  Let those past hurts be, and step away.  Drop the predictions.  Unwarp the expectations.  Let them be.  I think thats called being charitable to yourself. Maybe charity comes with the ability to forgive?


Love is a doing word.... an action ........... both outwardly and inwardly..... What a shame it would be to remain stuck in an old moment and miss out on making a difference in the life of another by reclaiming the ability to be vulnerable. Now, if we only had the guts to give it a whirl.....


"love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you........"

7 comments:

Mark said...

This is a wise and wonderfully written post! We are love! Love is truly a verb, it is as natural as breathing yet we often allow our fears to get in the way of our love. We must trust in love and trust that all will be and is as it should be.

awareness said...

Mark, thank you. I'm glad you read it, as I thought of you and the themes you write about when I was composing it. Cheers to you.

Gypsy said...

....What a shame it would be to remain stuck in an old moment and miss out on making a difference in the life of another by reclaiming the ability to be vulnerable. Now, if we only had the guts to give it a whirl.....


Such true and honest words. Not only do we miss out on making a difference in someone else's lives but also our own.


It can be terribly difficult to take the risk but the pay off can be beyond our wildest dreams. What is life if we don't take a chance and roll the dice?

BlazngScarlet said...

This post has been lingering on my mind.
Love IS what we DO.
But sometimes, we let our personal conflicts, hang-ups, etc block our path .... even when we "think" we are living in love, there are those that we just aren't open to.

Working on it .....

Walker said...

We love thy neighbor as thy neighbor loves us.
What we do not who we are is what makes us good neighbors.
At least that's my opinion.

awareness said...

Gypsy...you hit it on the head I think. I guess we need to go into the idea of applying the love thy neighbour rule with few expectations from the recipient......knowing how wonderful it feels to simply give of ourselves. We do miss out on making a difference and feeling the goodness of that if we aren't willing to take that risk.

Scarletina....aren't we all? :) Life is a long process of becoming human.... :) Works in progress....

Walker.... What we do.....yes. And sometimes even our best attempts fall short, but as Miss Scarletina stated.... working on it. :)

ranae janelle said...

Hello. I came stumbled across this post today while researching on this topic and your words resonate, so beautifully written. I then noticed that you are from New Brunswick. I worked at a group home in St Stephen for 4 years from 2000-2004 and miss NB terribly. Just wanted you know that it was lovely to find your post here. Thank you. ~Ranae