Author Topic: Loving your neighbor...  (Read 602 times)

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Offline Shiny

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Loving your neighbor...
« on: January 24, 2013, 10:50:25 PM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 10:52:52 PM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?
Jesus said to love your neighbors. He didn't say anything about liking them.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Shiny

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2013, 10:58:39 PM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?
Jesus said to love your neighbors. He didn't say anything about liking them.
Yeah but I don't love them.
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2013, 11:47:32 PM »
God died for their sins, yours, and mine.  We have a bond with each other and them, as sinners.
God loved mankind when they hammered him to a cross.

We should love our enemies.  We should love people that annoy us...  ;)

Most of all love them because God created you and told you to love them.  :)

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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2013, 12:24:59 AM »
These people you cannot stand... do you think you're better than them? I'm not asking to be snarky or trap you or whatever, I'm just asking because I tend to have those kinds of feelings when I have a "doesn't suffer fools well" type of relationship with someone.

Offline Peacemaker

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2013, 12:32:53 AM »
Humility



 1 John 4:20
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.


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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2013, 12:49:32 AM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?

IIRC, Katya Ivanovna in The Brothers Karamazov was oozing with love for humanity, but could not love individuals. I think this was addressed with Father Zosima's teaching to focus on active love--that is, not love in the abstract sense of a feeling, but in the concrete sense of doing--thinking a positive thought, saying a kind word.

It may help to find at least one good thing in each person you despise. Everyone has something. God knows, I have a lot of evil, but other people see good things even in me. So, it's the same with everyone else.
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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2013, 12:49:59 AM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?
Jesus said to love your neighbors. He didn't say anything about liking them.

Dr. King made the same point. It's a difficult challenge. It's very hard to love people that spew hatred and venom your way. It's hard to love those who kick you when your down. It's hard to love people you've never met who promote injustice and evil. But it is a commandment, and one of the essential commandments at that. Yet I don't have any answers. I have hardly learned how to love all people. I struggle simply to love those who I know love me.


Selam
""Love is a dangerous thing. It will crush you if you trust it. But without it you can never be whole. Love crucifies, but love saves. We will either be saved together with love, or damned alone without it."    Selam, +GMK+

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2013, 12:50:24 AM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?
Jesus said to love your neighbors. He didn't say anything about liking them.

How can you love if you despise and judge people as unworthy of your love?
Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
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I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.

Offline Symeon77

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 12:53:33 AM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?

Welcome to the club. Seriously. The fact that you care to make such an admission means that there is hope.

Prayer, confession, and being humbled through life's experiences all help to change this disposition but it will take a long time, so be patient with your cross, and ask as often as you can for His help in bearing it.

One practical piece of advice that has helped me a bit when I find myself irrationally disliking someone, is to pray 'Lord, you love them, for you created them. Have mercy on them/ us.' or something to this effect. It takes the focus off of the passion, and grounds the encounter within the framework of God and His providence, even if the thought/ feeling doesn't entirely disappear. Through practice, it can reveal the possibility of loving even those who greatly challenge our capacity to do so, which possibility is truly a gift from God.
Where Christianity disappears, greed, envy, and lust invent a thousand ideologies to justify themselves.~ Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Abba Anthony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2013, 12:58:38 AM »
In each person, there is something worthy of love. The least is that each person is an icon of God. You may find out more as you get to know people better.

That said, with some people it is difficult to find lovable qualities. They may be hidden underneath the surface, or the person may be troubled.

I knew someone who was very bitter and angry. This person was very difficult to work with, but it helped just to roll with it. You can't change people--who they are, what they say and do, their worldview, etc.

Love, I think, since it is the queen of virtues, the top of the ladder, is not something we arrive at right away or through will power. It's a process that requires us to work on ourselves. The fact that you're aware you do not love these people is a good step. Lots of people aren't even aware of their shortcomings. Lots of people don't even want to change.

So, little by little, you will struggle to work on yourself and change yourself so that you can better love others and know what it takes to love them and how you should love them.
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If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
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I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.

Offline Romaios

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2013, 01:03:09 AM »
One practical piece of advice that has helped me a bit when I find myself irrationally disliking someone, is to pray 'Lord, you love them, for you created them. Have mercy on them/ us.' or something to this effect.

I was recommended: "For the prayers of N. (person I dislike/hate/am in trouble with), have mercy on me a sinner".

Curiously, it works - even if one should think that person doesn't pray much or at all.

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2013, 01:04:24 AM »
One practical piece of advice that has helped me a bit when I find myself irrationally disliking someone, is to pray 'Lord, you love them, for you created them. Have mercy on them/ us.' or something to this effect.

I was recommended: "For the prayers of N. (person I dislike/hate/am in trouble with), have mercy on me a sinner".

Curiously, it works - even if one should think that person doesn't pray much or at all.

His angel does!
Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.

Offline Shiny

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2013, 01:04:42 AM »
Thank you all for the wonderful posts, definitely struck a cord with me.

I was talking with my boss today about a co worker who I strongly dislike an he said you can't change their personality. But if these are shortcomings in a persons character why say they cannot change?

I just think that is an excuse for someones behavior.

Anyway I should probably worry about my own salvation and working on being more like Christ
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 01:06:06 AM by Achronos »
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2013, 01:19:48 AM »
Some things, while maybe they could change--especially by a miracle, are really difficult for a person to change because they're systemic. In a sense, they're beyond even passions, so it seems to me. To "change personality," truly I think means to give it direction, not change it entirely to something else. Many people don't have good direction. Oftentimes, one little change makes bigger positive changes. But the only person you can change (and blame) is yourself.
Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.

Offline Symeon77

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2013, 01:23:52 AM »
Thank you all for the wonderful posts, definitely struck a cord with me.

I was talking with my boss today about a co worker who I strongly dislike an he said you can't change their personality. But if these are shortcomings in a persons character why say they cannot change?

I just think that is an excuse for someones behavior.

Anyway I should probably worry about my own salvation and working on being more like Christ

Of course, your boss is correct to a degree. And you are right to cleave to Christ and try and become more like Him. But I should also mention, sometimes through our earnest prayers for others, their hearts also can mysteriously soften towards us, and they even begin to change in their behavior towards us, while ours softens towards them, and we are able to apprehend Christ present in them. This is not always the case, but the effort is still worthwhile.
Where Christianity disappears, greed, envy, and lust invent a thousand ideologies to justify themselves.~ Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Abba Anthony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"

Offline Jason.Wike

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2013, 02:24:45 AM »
Pray for them, for the best for them, for God to guide them and protect them.

Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2013, 06:10:09 PM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?

I think you start by not throwing rocks at them.
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Offline Velsigne

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2013, 08:09:52 PM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?

B.C. in my life, when I started to realize my spiritual condition, I used to pray to God to help me see others through His eyes. 

Now I am a practicing Christian, I simply put them on my prayer list and pray everyday for them along with everyone else on the list.  God helps us, and will help the other person too if they want. 

I also practice looking past things I know will bother me if I allow it, so I try to catch the thought as it generates and brush past it as a form of mental discipline.  Still working on that one.  Sometimes we are tempted with thoughts, absolutely bombarded, and that's when I go to confession and that helps too.   

I had a completely severe over the top week of thought bombardment prior to baptism.  I literally felt my heart turn to stone during prayer, over one comment someone said to me at church.  I was tempted in all my weak areas the week or two prior.  Someone, I have no idea who, even texted me a photo of the satanic bible.  It was like running a gauntlet. 

The more I see my own sin, the less I struggle with that issue.  I am still learning in this area myself, maybe it is something we all work on our entire lives, or don't as we will.

People do evil stuff, sometimes even unwittingly, but ultimately God's love prevails (it is finished, complete), and we pray He will prevail in our own heart.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2013, 09:35:04 PM »
I love mankind as a whole, but when it comes to individual people I have the hardest time with it. A lot of the people I am surrounded by in the workplace I absolutley cannot stand. Public places I detest a lot of other people too. I guess you could say I skirt a little bit with misanthropy.

So how does one reverse a heart of stone?
Jesus said to love your neighbors. He didn't say anything about liking them.

How can you love if you despise and judge people as unworthy of your love?
One can see some person as worthy of love, but still not like that person. By "love" I mean "wish for the ultimate greatest good" for a person; by "like" I mean "want to hang out with" a person.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 09:36:40 PM by Jetavan »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline AustralianDiaspora

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2013, 06:16:59 PM »
I struggle with this myself in a big way. A Priest said to me recently, "Tolerance and forgiveness is a life long lesson to be learned over and over again." I suppose it depends on what form these feelings take, but when I'm stuck in anger and bitterness I say the Lord's prayer and ask for forgiveness and assistance in dealing with these feelings. There is a difference between having a problem with someone's behaviour and hating them as a person. It's one of the hardest things we have to do as Christians in my opinion, but if you are willing God will provide :)
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Offline AustralianDiaspora

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2013, 06:18:49 PM »
One practical piece of advice that has helped me a bit when I find myself irrationally disliking someone, is to pray 'Lord, you love them, for you created them. Have mercy on them/ us.' or something to this effect.

I was recommended: "For the prayers of N. (person I dislike/hate/am in trouble with), have mercy on me a sinner".

Curiously, it works - even if one should think that person doesn't pray much or at all.
This is great!
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Offline Balthasar

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2013, 07:57:40 AM »

What does it mean by "neighbor"? Who are our neighbors? Could Satan be our neighbor? Do we have to love everyone, including Satan?


Offline AustralianDiaspora

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Re: Loving your neighbor...
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2013, 01:39:03 PM »

What does it mean by "neighbor"? Who are our neighbors? Could Satan be our neighbor? Do we have to love everyone, including Satan?


My understanding is that 'love thy neighbour as thyself' really means to love other people as they are manifestations of God's will, so by loving them we are loving God. In that sense, you can love someone as a creation of God without loving or condoning what they do, though I don't know what loving Satan would mean in practical terms.
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