The next face of love involves loving our neighbors. As we looked at in the second face of love, we are loved not because we are special, but because we are created in the image of The Divine. The same is true of our neighbors—meaning everyone we come into contact with. We love them not because they are special, not because we see them as better than us, but we love them simply because they are also an extension of Divine Love, and because they are our brothers and sisters.
Love is often misunderstood and hard to define. Love is a decision and an emotion, a noun and a verb, but rarely is love understood to be simply a state of being—a state of acceptance. Most of the time when I think of love, I think about the active aspect of love. I consider the fact that love is doing for others and doing for myself. Making life easier or better. But love is also a state of acceptance of one another and as such it indicates a lack of judgment. When we are judging, we have stopped loving. We accept each other as the divine creation they are no matter who they are or what they’ve done.
The last aspect of the faces of love is similar to the third one, but because we have more difficulty with this facet of love it is mentioned here separately. The fourth face of love is to love our enemies just as much as we love ourselves or anyone else. Loving our enemies doesn’t come easily, but the reason is similar to the reason we have difficulty loving ourselves. We see faults in ourselves and in others. Often the faults we see in others, including our enemies, is often the same faults we see in ourselves.
As we learn to accept the faults we see in our enemies, it helps us to accept the faults we believe are present in our own lives. To be able to release these mistakes and not to judge ourselves is a key ingredient to loving our enemies as we love ourselves. It’s nearly impossible to love our enemy if we hate who we are. But, if we can correct this mistaken image of ourselves, it becomes possible to extend that love to everyone. Each person we meet demonstrates love, or presents to us a call for love. It is up to us to decide how to respond. It’s easy to love those who love us. The challenge is to go beyond the easy and to share love with those we don’t like and to those who don’t like us.
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