A few years back, my daughter came home from school and told me her teacher said, “To love someone is to want the best for him.” I had never heard that before, but it solved a puzzle for me. I was taught that as Christians we must love “everybody,” but I never could understand how we could love people we didn’t know or love our next door neighbor as much as our own children. My daughter’s definition, however, solves that problem and offers an elegant rule for life.
Reflecting on this simple but profound statement, I realized that I can bring myself to want the best for almost everyone in the whole world–defining “the best” as what is truly good for them, not what they desire to satiate appetites or egos, that is. But every once in awhile, particularly when I feel that I have suffered a real injustice at the hands of another, I find myself thinking, “Boy, I hope that guy gets what coming to him!” Then I remember: “Oh! I’m supposed to truly want the best for him.”
Sometimes it takes me a beat or two to turn myself around, and sometimes I just can’t, but it’s always worth trying to transform my vengeful little thought into something more like a prayer: “I sincerely hope that guy leads a good and happy life from this moment forward.” I don’t have to dwell on the problem I had with him, I just have to genuinely want the best for him, which would also be the best for me–and for all of us!
I like it, it’s simple and it works (most of the time!)
Happy Valentine’s Day!
In case you missed it, here was my previous Valentine’s Post: Love, Like Me!
An excellent moral to live by!
I like it! I have found it difficult to love politicians, but you’ve provided me with a way to do that. Thanks for your great insight!
That’s true. Every time we let go of anger and choose to forgive, we win a battle against the evil wickedness that is in the world. Love isn’t a magic spell, or a trap that we fall into, or some batch of chemicals whipped up in our bodies. It’s a choice we make. Love is more wonderful when I consider that people must choose to love.
FORGIVE EACH OTHER AND NOT GOVERNMENTS.
I’m finding it difficult nowadays to see governments or nations. I have been thinking about how only individuals act, and if there are governments and nations, then they are merely individuals who agree that they should rule other individuals by force or fraud. The collective is just in our heads, and it’s very convenient to rulers if we imagine that many are one, When we imagine that we serve a nation or a “people” or a culture, we’re actually serving a ruler, or rulers. I don’t hate the nation or the government or the culture, because they simply do not exist in any other place than in the mind.
Yes, I am sounding crazier every day. That’s just how I see it now though.
Excellent points! You’ve given me food for thought and I thank you for it.
have you read this? https://monicaperezshow.com/our-enemy-the-state-by-albert-jay-nock/ I think it’s even a little bit worse than you think…I was ready to completely give up but I now feel like it’s necessary and worthwhile to try to reach people and expand the remnant and keep it alive.
A crucial point, Bradrad. I often refer to government for the benefit of certain audiences (correct but probably too grand a description!) but also make a point of reminding them that it’s tyranny by groups of individuals calling themselves government.