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What is Not Love
Unfortunately, we have been trained NOT to love. How so? We have superiors or supervisors who in their word or action:
They justify their behaviour by saying that they have a task to complete on time in this competitive and globalize world. They choose not to be kind and patient.
We harbour resentment and our natural reaction when we are in a position of strength is to do the same and more:
We are imprisoned by our hurt. We are easily provoked. We flare into anger quickly. We envy. Unless we reflect and question our reaction, we have been trained NOT to love! And St Paul has defined for us what love is NOT, in that, “love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; ” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 NKJV)
The passages below are summarized from the book, “Our Lady says: Love People” by Rev. Albert Joseph Mary Shamon.
1. Love does not envy---zelOl means to strive after, to have zeal for one’s own status,
· Love envies no one.
· Love knows no envy.
· Love is not jealous of people.
· Envy or jealousy is a vice nobody likes; it is so unlovable that when a person has it, he tries to conceal it.
· Envy is sorrow about people’s good fortune. Instead of rejoicing at someone’s good fortune, envy weeps.
· Envy destroys our peace of mind and it makes us positively miserable.
· To detect envy or jealousy, just ask ourselves these questions:
Are we chronic critics?
Are we always sarcastic?
Do we gossip?
Do we talk disparagingly about someone’s accomplishment?
Do we belittle what means a lot to another?
Do we assassinate people’s character?
Do we give the silent treatment to our spouse whenever we are unhappy with our spouse’s ways?
2. Love does not parade itself---perperEUetai means to boast or vaunt oneself, to be a braggart.
· Love is not pompous.
· Love is never boastful.
· Love does not brag.
· Love is no braggart.
· A braggart does not feel superior to others but he boasts that he is.
· Boasting can be hurtful and unkind since it diminishes others.
3. Love is not puffed up---phusiOUtai means to puff up, make proud.
· Love is not inflated.
· Love is not conceited.
· Love is not inflated with its own importance.
· Love is not puffed up with pride.
· Pride resides in the heart.
· Pride is inflated egoism.
· Pride is extreme self love.
· Pride smacks of idolatry, for it idolizes self.
· A proud person brooks no criticism, true or untrue.
· Hell has no fury like a proud person scorned.
4. Love does not behave rudely---aschemonE means to behave unseemly.
· Love is not rude.
· Love does not behave gracelessly.
· Love does not behave unpresentably.
· Love is not arrogant or rude.
· A rude person does not treat a person as a human being but as a means to his own ends.
· A courteous person realizes the dignity of the human being and he simply treats each person as a person, as a child of God.
· Rudeness comes from insecurity or weakness, from selfishness or self-centeredness, from lack of training at home or in school.
· Being nice, kind, courteous, polite, good natured, considerate or thoughtful, especially to the weak and helpless, is a cultivated virtue.
5. Love does not seek its own---zetEl means to seek for, seek after.
· Love does not seek its own interests.
· Love is never selfish.
· Love does not insist on its rights.
· Love does not seek its own advantages.
· Love does not insist on its own way.
· A self-seeker may want to serve God, but in his own way, not God’s way.
· A self-seeker pursues the adulation, praise and approbation of others.
· Signs that tell us whether or not we are self-seeking:
Do we give free rein to our desires and wants?
Do we let them run wild like an unbridled colt?
Do we discipline them, tame them and put a check on them?
Is God in our thoughts?
Do we try to avoid what is displeasing to God?
Do we accept without complaint all that God sends us?
6. Love is not provoked----paroxUnetai means to provide, irritate, excite.
· Love is not quick-tempered.
· Love is not quick to take offence.
· Love never flies in a temper.
· Love is not easily irritated.
· Love is not resentful.
· A quick tempered person is one who is easily provoked to anger, one who has a short fuse.
· Hasty temper, impatient rebukes, sullen looks, harsh words, they never do any good!
· It took St Francis de Sales years to learn that the best answer to temper is silence.
· When Julius Caesar was provoked, he would repeat the entire Roman alphabet before he would speak as he has found that “the greatest remedy for anger is delay.”
· A quick tempered person can be:
Testy ---flaring up at the least annoyance.
Touchy ---reacting vehemently when certain subjects are broached.
Irrational---just flying into a rage or fury without reason.
7. Love thinks no evil---loglzetai means to reckon, calculate, compute.
· Love does not brood over injuries.
· Love keeps no score of wrongs.
· Love does not store up the memory of any wrong it has received.
· Love does not calculate evil.
· Love does not record in memory every hurt to repay it later.
· It is foolish to carry hurts like gunnysack on our backs all through life.
8. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth---adikla means a wrong, an offence, injustice and alethEla means truth.
· Love does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
· Love does not gloat over other men’s sins.
· Love finds no pleasure in evil-doing.
· Love does not rejoice in injustice.
· There are human vultures who gloat over other’s shortcoming, who rejoice over the failures of others, who glorify the vices of lust and immorality.
To be good at anything we have to spend time and effort studying and practicing it. To be loving we need to know what love is and what love is NOT. We should not confuse love with the Hollywood-type-of movie love. What then is love? True love at its very basic is:
Patient Do I accommodate his/her views, his idiosyncrasies and his ways of doing things?
Can I overlook his shortcomings or faults?
Will I be able to bear the blame and accusation?
Can I accept him as he is?
Kind Do I have a kind heart towards him/her?
Do I strive to make him happy?
Do I uplift his spirit when he is anxious or depressed?
Am I tender hearted towards him?
Forgiving Mother Teresa says, “We must make our homes centers of compassion and forgive endlessly.” (“A Gift for God”, 18)
Do I try to forgive endlessly at home?
Do I harbor grudges over a long period of time?
Do I hold on to resentment?
Do I keep a record of wrongs he has done to be used against him?
Do I try to forgive and forget?
Self-giving Do I make self-sacrifice for him/her?
Am I generous towards him?
Can I give in to the relatively unimportant comments and arguments?
Do I give up my preferences, goals, comfort, time and energy for him?
Encouraging Am I always encouraging or am I critical towards him/her?
Do I affirm him?
Am I his cheer leader?
Do I see his potential or do I see him as he is?
Do I constantly find ways to praise him?
Have we spent the time to cultivate and nurture these qualities or are we so engrossed with making a living that we don’t bother about such things? How then can we be good at loving?
Ultimately relationship, not what we achieved or acquired, is what matters most in life. So why do we allow our relationships to get the short end of the stick? When our schedules become overloaded, we start skimming---cutting back on giving the time, energy, and attention that loving relationships require. What’s most important to us is replaced by what is most urgent.
When life on earth is ending, we don’t surround ourselves with objects. What we want around us is people---people we love and have relationships with.
In our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life is all about. Learning this truth sooner rather than later is wisdom. Why then wait until we are on our deathbed to figure out that nothing matters more than a loving relationship?
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