In times like these, where are the proclamations and teachings of “love your neighbors” and “love your enemies”? Where are the billboards and the abundance of social media posts screaming out about this love that comes from a source of ourselves “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Love your enemies…Do to others as you would have them do to you”? Could it be that under further review, the silence is because when people discover they are the source of love, they chose not to speak out? Could the exertion of loving someone else in this way without loving yourself truly be more than “a tall order” or more than “just being difficult to achieve or fulfill”? Instead, could this truly be an impossible task for more than a few?
We base so much of life searching for the meaning and trying to make sense of it all. We funnel plenty of wealth and riches, listen to multiple sets of directions, and use amazing amounts of resources in our attempt to make sense of life or avoid death. Where shall I discover examples of “love your enemies” in a manner that I want to be treated? And if this statement is only a nice idea with no backbone; then what is it within me that craves for love and acceptance? What is it within me that yearns – even if I am disliked or hated – for a certain type of respect to be possible or even deserved? It seems absurd and senseless that I innately have something that resonates so deeply within me, yet it can never be obtained.
Is “love your enemies” really out-of-reach? Some say firmly “yes” without any further thought. They hold strong with only their personal experience as their highest authority of reference, therefore their final judge. “Eye for an eye” rules even if it is a preventative stance. End of discussion! These same folks boldly speak their mind and act in isolation which reveals many things about them and when identified they would likely deny or dismiss or downplay any opposing views. This type of posture seems to seldom look at one’s own self in a proverbial mirror. They try to remain hidden, closed off or masked to the world. Others sit on the fence line. The desire is to balance, not to be called an extreme pacifist with irrational thoughts of utopia. Yet they are fearful to boldly stand up for truth. Their method of standing back without any attention paid to morals and ethics, or standards allows them to fade “into the crowd” with masses of apathy rather than empathy; arrogance rather than humility and ignorance rather than understanding. In both examples, love for oneself is distorted and twisted so how can love be a desirable act which someone would want for themselves or could perform for someone else? When the source of love is unrecognizable as love, how can something good flow out-of-it?
I suggest, whole-heartedly believe and practice “loving your enemies” and “love your neighbors” can only be done when taking care of the source from which love comes—our self. I wonder that without love for oneself, which includes the acceptance of our own foibles blended with our grit to try our best, sincerely effects our inability to love… not the incapacity of love.
Commitment in relationship, marriage, and parenthood taught me that loving my enemies and my neighbors is not only possible, it is essential to live life to the fullest. Loving my enemies and neighbors is key in accepting change, grieving losses and forging into unknown circumstances that open me to opportunities and pain. Loving my enemies and my neighbors has shown me the following: I am my greatest distraction. I am the shadow that stands in the light. I can justify, rationalize, avoid, and distract myself with worry about uncontrollable natural events, and shutdown when all the support points to the trailhead that says “go here”. I can help and support others because I get this.
Our belief systems can provide an all-encompassing way of living. Freewill delivers us to opportunities, and it also presents us consequences. Love your enemies and treat them as you would like to be treated, along with love your neighbors as yourself, affords us love not necessarily from our neighbor or create expectations of our enemies, but it sets ourselves as the source of love. When we love ourselves and do our best in bringing our best, we make available who we are at our core through our capabilities without being obstructed by our inabilities.
If this perspective of love is foreign to you and you would like to find out more, feel free to contact us through the website (www.sunsetcommunitycounseling.com) under the “Contact”.
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“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Love your enemies… Do to others as you would have them do to you.”