Loving Others

February 10, 2017

“God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves…We need to understand as human beings that our personal value and the value of our so-called accomplishments is first and foremost rooted in God’s love for us.” (St. John Chrysostom, Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)


“The challenge then is to take our sense of Godliness and transfer it over to every encounter with every person we meet today, to see God in them, and to love them in the way we love God, the way God loves us.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)


“Love needs to be sincere. And only the love of God is sincere love. To a person whom we find tiresome and troublesome, love needs to be offered in a subtle manner without the person being aware that we are striving to love him. It shouldn’t be given much outward expression, because then the person will react. Silence saves us from all evils.” (St. Porphyrios the Kapsokalivite)


“...there are certainly times when people need to be corrected for their own good. When these occasions arise, we must make sure the correction is given in the spirit of love, so the delivery does not get in the way of the message. Priests, parents, bosses, and sometimes even friends may be called upon to offer such counsel, but the spirit of love must always remain central to the message…If we truly wish to help someone, we offer good and kind thoughts, speak with words of love and encouragement, and pray for her. We are not doing her a favor by serving as her self-appointed therapist. Words of encouragement are far more likely to help the person than negative and critical feedback.” (Abbot Tryphon)


“Let Christ’s love motivate you to love other Christians and to express that love in your actions toward them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Philippians 1:7-8)


“The farther Christians remove themselves from the spirit of their faith, the more they become divided by self-love; the more they are absorbed in themselves, the lesser community they have in spiritual and material blessings.” (St. John of Krondstat)


“The path of forgiveness, of love towards those who hate us, of unrequited generosity and thanksgiving for all things, represents a decision to step away from the protected life of the guarded self. It accepts injustice towards the self, the loss of what is rightfully due, and giving what is not deserved or merited. None of this would be possible to us apart from the example of Christ and our mystical union with Him.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


"I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man's actions but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. ...I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life -- namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things." (C. S. Lewis)


“Only through the power of the Holy Spirit and the accompanying acquisition of a humble and contrite heart does love gain the upper hand, and we are victorious in our struggle against selfwill.” (Abbot Tryphon)


 “If anyone could see his own vices accurately without the veil of self-love, he would worry about nothing else in life…Love consumes us only in the measure of our self-surrender.” (St. John Climacus, St. Therese of Lisieux)


“The great condescension of the Son of God in becoming a man serves eternally as a perfect model of humility and self-giving love." (Foundation Study Bible, Isaiah 9:7)


 “As we grow in our relationship with God, we should experience a revolutionary change in our attitudes toward people… The more we love people, the more our differences disappear.” (Bill Hybels, Metropolitan Joseph)


“Because every human person is impressed with the Divine Image, this is the fundamental reason for the dignity of every human person…When people respond in love to each other, they cover over the sins or offenses that would otherwise come between them.” (Deacon and Fellow Pilgrim, Foundation Study Bible, Proverbs 10:12)


"By learning to recognize the Divine Presence within ourselves, we also learned to recognize the Divine Presence within others and recognize our unity within the Body of Christ." (Deacon and Fellow Pilgrim)


“Times like ours call for us to become spiritually fit so we can be beacons of light among those who have lost all hope. The challenges we all face are not for the faint of heart. The spiritually fit can triumph over anything, and we must continue to encourage this new generation of young people to be prepared for whatever may be coming. Those who have developed a strong faith must be willing to share their faith-based strength with those who are on the edge.” (Abbot Tryphon)


“St. Paul notes that “faith works through love” (Gal. 5:6). This describes the very heart of the ascetic life. Only love extends itself in the self-emptying struggle against the passions without becoming lost in the solipsism of asceticism for its own sake. It is love that endures the contradictions of reality without turning away or reducing them. And it is love that finally comprehends the reality hidden within the contradictions that confront us.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“If we are not willing to endure hardship for God and neighbor, if we refuse to practice asceticism, we will always be too weak and selfish to practice perfect and selfless love. True love and compassion mean self-denial.” (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)


 “Love comes from God (1 John 4:7). We’re not very good at this kind of loving, and the only way we can be is through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit.” (Foundation Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13)


 “If you find that there is no love in you, but you want to have it, then do deeds of love, even though you do them without love in the beginning. The Lord will see your desire and striving and will put love in your heart." (St. Ambrose of Optina)


“The ultimate goal of Christ's prayer, and indeed of life itself, is for the love of the Father to dwell in each person.” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 17:26)


“Generalities exist only in our minds. We do not experience the “love of man.” We can only love this man, or that woman. Because human beings and their lives are utterly unique, the greater the distance we place between ourselves and those of whom we treat, the less accurate we are.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“An exaggerated fear is equipped with binoculars; it tends to magnify dangers that are a great distance away, making small threats appear large." (H. Norman Wright)


 “Pray that God will bless you with patience and wisdom to help you negotiate your way through the many toxic, potentially destructive thoughts and feelings you will encounter. The truth is, disappointment, regrets, resentment, anger, and feelings and thoughts of betrayal are all part of the territory, and they can create emotional distance…” (Rev. Fr. Charles Joanides, Ph.D., LMFT)


 “Saint Paul’s words challenge us to consider our relationships within the church communities of which we are members. We are to conduct ourselves in a loving manner toward all (1 Corinthians 16:14)…we are to extend love to “all in Christ Jesus” (vs. 24). Indeed, we should feel challenged by these words, for we are all too familiar with how polite distance, cliques, diffidence, or formalism often divide us.” (Dynamis 8/30/2015)


 “People who have the same goal, and who strive towards the ‘one thing needful’, have oneness of soul; and they never feel the distance of separation. And no matter how great that distance is, it can never be the cause of hindrance to that spiritual closeness uniting these people in oneness of soul." (St. John Maximovitch)


“What you say and what you don’t say are both important….We dare not be careless with what we say, thinking it can be apologize later, because even if we do, the scars remain. A few words spoken in anger can destroy a relationship that took years to build. Before you speak, remember that words are like fire – you can neither control nor reverse the damage they do.” (Life Application Study Bible, James 3:2,3,6)


“The root of the verb learn is mathete, which also forms the noun disciple. It implies training in what is good through practice, reflection, correction, with much repetition so that the good developed within manifest in loving actions and healing relationships.” (Dynamis 1/5/13)


“…love your enemies, bless those who curse tou, and do good to those that hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you...” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:44-45)