1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is more than just a word on a mission statement. Many who speak about loving others live and act in ways that do not exhibit what they preach.
Loving others demands a noble character, a sense of respect, mutual trust and acceptance. To truly love others, requires that one places himself or herself in the shoes of those around them and, to value differences. True kindness inspires others however, when motives are misplaced lives are adversely affected.
When love is absent, disorders reign. Oppressing others has long lasting psychological consequences. Those who take others for granted and consistently pass judgements that are inconsiderate and heartless make a grave mistake, as they, themselves, cannot mature beyond their own illusory lives- this is due to the fact that when someone treats people unfairly either through prejudice or disdain such behaviors over time can give rise to ingrained roots of bitterness and result in disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder, characterized by, selfishness, and a lack of empathy. Some of us may have heard of the “gaslighter” who may lie, or align people against each other in order to retain control. This creates toxic relationships that are difficult to overcome and, leads to exaggerated assumptions on the part of the transgressor believing that others cannot be worthy of trust.
The result of a Google search on “how many times “love” appears in the Bible?” shows that it does 310 times in the King James Bible, 348 times in the New American Standard Bible, 551 times in the New International Version and 538 times in the New Revised Standard Version.” The Biblical lessons are clear – to love others, to never give up on them and, to always expect the best. To be patient with others and to never stop believing in them.
Living within a community in such a precarious condition is exceedingly detrimental to those being maligned. The devastating signs often take time to become evident, in part because those at the receiving end often endure for acceptability at great psychological costs to themselves or, they remain unmindful of the deep-seated consequences of the deceit encircling them. In a community; adults as well as children can fall prey to such disorders. When expressed toward the young, such emotional assaults can lead them to a life of self-doubt and shame.
Leaders, choose change. Study of people who continually harm others can become victims of their own actions. The Biblical parable of sowing and reaping is a cautionary account. Those in leadership who are responsible for the well-being of people should ensure that they do not become perpetrators of injustice and biases. They should periodically look to correct any prejudicial treatments regardless of its source, or when contempt of others is exposed within their communities.
There is always something to learn and to gain from healthy and caring relationships. It starts with not forgetting the actions of those who have invested in your lives. Love is not one-sided, it is not about “your wants”, “your needs”, it is a give-and-take effort. Why then create an environment that is selfish, manipulative and prejudicial? Instead, consider loving others wholeheartedly, choose to respect those around you no matter their color, background and, live in harmony. — the choice is yours!