Love of Others

Love of Others: Purpose and Worth

Love of Self is the grounding from which love can grow and flow. Love of Others is the manifestation of love in action, purpose, worth and interconnection.

Through Love of Others, we use our gifts, talents and experiences to support, comfort, encourage, uplift–thereby increasing the net joy in this world. Love grows, maintains and heals relationships. Our responsibility to guide and support family members is honed by love: we are able to teach and lead by example, and to pass on those lessons for use by our children and the generations which follow. Through time and attention, we tell another, “You matter.”

In loving others, we enhance peace and joy. For every action, there is reaction. It may be gratitude. The recipient may learn by example and pass love along. Angers, hatreds, doubts and fears may be reduced as barriers to joy and connection. By our actions, others may be better enabled to pass love along. We may not always see the reaction, but it will be there in some form and will likely ripple outward through multiple people in multiple forms.

On a broader scale, our actions in tandem with those of others, uplift society and act as an offset to anger, hatred and greed. Our acts can lead to a reduction in hunger, pain, suffering, loneliness, hate, anger, conflict, fighting, isolation, despair. Hope is born of love. A community nourished in love is one with peace, comfort, security and joy.

Love propagates love. Hate propagates hate. How important is love to offset and contain destructive forces! Our individual acts may not seem like much in comparison to the disharmony or pain we observe in the world, but multiply them by millions. They have an impact.

Love of Others is part of an interconnected and cross-nourishing flow of good. How I feel about myself affects how I feel about others.  Love is the glue that binds. We are there for others as they are there for us. We are community with interconnecting needs and desires.

Love of Others is a sharing. It is not giving away, giving up, or otherwise diminishing of Self, but rather a joy, an outreach, an embracing of Self and others. Love of others is not control or enabling. It is care, encouragement and support.

Our gifts and abilities must be used to thrive. They must speak. If they do not, then, in a sense, they are not real to the outside world. And, what is a gift? Any offering. It need not be a special talent or large. A smile is an offering. How important is but a smile to a person who perhaps has had little kindness that day. A smile multiplied a million times! What if a smile or act of kindness pulls another from the brink? Was it too small a gift to consider?

Far from depleting Self, Love of Others is a fundamental means of nourishing Self. We exercise our gifts, innate and learned. We realize their value—and ours. The joy, inner peace, comfort, and purpose that comes from external realization of worth and purpose provides incentives and feedback so essential to our self-health, even as it benefits others. Notice and grab onto the feeling and warmth. It is worth so much more than money or power.

Love is not bargain-based. Although benefits ensue by the very nature of love and its effects, love has no expectation or requirement of a return. Indeed, an expectation or requirement of a return nullifies an action as love-based. I do not do good works to “buy” salvation, but simply to share what I have to offer. Just let love flow. If love has a “return” it is in the giving. Giving grows. Giving gives back. Being to others is also being to Self: “I am, in part, what I can share.” Love breathes in value, self-realization, purpose, connection in our extension of Self to others.

Lastly, and finally, Love of Others is an express part of the Greatest Commandment. We do God’s work in part by loving others—his creations. We are His partners in this physical world.

So what does love counsel in the Love of Others?

Test everything we say, do and believe with the Mantras of Love:

  1. Is it born of Love?
  2. Does it increase Love?
  3. Does it Honor Self, Others, God?

In personal interactions, use the ABC’S as a handy shorthand guide. Appreciate, understand, encourage and value others in their uniqueness, and let them know!  Build, encourage and support them. Share experiences. Guide, if needed, in love. Build connection. Give and receive care and comfort. Cross-share in all that we as unique individuals have to offer to one another.

Use and develop healthy practices as guides in daily living and interactions.

  1. Morning Honor (“What one thing can I do to honor . . .).”
  2. Mantras (particularly the Tests of Love, since they will guide our thoughts and actions).
  3. Patience, Understanding.
  4. Communication; Active Listening; Time and Attention.
  5. Compassion, Comfort, Empathy.
  6. Companionship, Friendship, Family.
  7. Guidance (in Love).
  8. Honesty, Integrity, Loyalty.
  9. Respect.
  10. Gratitude.

Add to the list. Be creative. Pay love forward. Love begets Love.

One thought on “Love of Others

  1. Treatment of Women

    “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 (NIV)
    Unless the neighbor is a woman? Or your spouse?

    One of the most confounding problems in both society and religion has been disparate treatment of women. They are marginalized, repressed, made subservient. The treatment has no place under the Greatest Commandment and is at odds with the reality that women are every bit as competent, strong, imaginative, and important as men.

    Certainly, some Islamic doctrinal developments have tended to marginalize and subordinate women to men. However, before Christian nations deplore the plight of women in Islamic and other societies, it should be recognized that orthodox Christianity has its own problems

    Jesus never treated women as subordinate in the synoptic gospels, and, indeed, honored and protected them, as reflected by his saving of the woman from judgmental rock throwers, and having Mary Magdalene within his inner circle.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, the development of Pauline church doctrine continued earlier religious traditions of subordination.

    Under the approach, women have in the past been locked into caste like roles, an approach in part supported by religious doctrines and attitudes, as well as by male-dominated society. They were expected to be home, have children and cook, while the husband works—even if the woman had talents, desire and drive that could benefit society.

    Women are sometimes forced to suffer verbal and other forms of abuse: because the man is in charge. Subordination to the man leads to negative self-worth, acceptance of “one’s lot in life”. Women can be reduced to effective slaves rather than a valued people.

    Women cannot be ministers or priests in some religious expressions.
    Artificial glass ceilings have limited upward mobility, self-realization options, and equal pay.

    In the past, women have not been seriously accepted in scientific roles or as thinkers on a par with male counterparts.

    Matters have been changing for the better, at least in some societies and religions. However, they cannot change fast enough. Again, the treatment of women as somehow subordinate is totally contrary to the Greatest Commandment. Religion—and certainly any religion professing to follow the Greatest Commandment—should actively seek to elevate women to an equal status and equal opportunities in all aspects of society.

    Was the concept born of love? How could it be?

    Does the concept increase love? How can an approach that subordinates 50% of the population increase love?

    Does it reflect love of others as oneself?

    Can a religious doctrine based in love seriously contend that God would create a class of inferior beings? Would we want such a God? Does the concept honor a God of Love?

    It is time either for change—in religion and society—or the casting off of institutions and doctrines that will not change.

Leave a Reply