This-essay is a9708141.htm which is available at the web-site www.essayz.com. See more notes at the bottom. Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay By-Months By-Years By-Words Webs of Like-&-Un-Like ESSAYS <==> Like-&-UN-Like This-One ========================================================== %NATURE LOVE BROTHER SISTER PARENT CHILD AGAPE SEX 970814 What is the nature of true love and how is it often perverted? It takes many different, yet mutually complementary statements, to point to what is true about love. No one simple statement can capture and contain what is true of true love. We can only point and invite others to discern what we point to. We cannot helpfully manipulate or coerce others into discerning what is true about love. The apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13 wrote that love is essential to life, for without love much which is desirable and worthy of respect and praise is nothing. In writing to his unruly Corinthian church, he went on to say that love IS: patient, kind, tolerant, trusting, hopeful, enduring, and rejoices in righteousness. He noted that love is NOT: jealous, boastful, arrogant, rude, demanding, irritable, resentful nor rejoices at alienation. In speaking about love in "The Prophet," Gilbran wrote that love possesses not, nor would it be possessed; and that we should think not that we can direct the course of love, for love, if love finds us worthy, directs our course. Love would have us know the pain of too much tenderness, and be wounded by our own understanding of love. We are to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in our hearts, and a song of praise upon our lips. The author of the first book of John wrote that God is Love; and that there is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear --- for fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. True love does not seek to control; but to console, comfort and soothe---to give hope in time of grief or pain. True love encourages the exchange of free gifts of the freedom to be safely vulnerable within intimate relationships which are "right" because they are: balanced, open, honest, patient, kind, tolerant, trusting, hopeful, enduring, and full of joy. Such "right" relationships are the essence of "righteousness". Love is not preoccupied with issues of conformity, management, manipulations or control. Love rather seeks to promote renewal and growth through gentle reconciliation, liberation and healing. Love is not primarily about doing things to or for other people; but about being engaged in balanced dialogue and cooperation with other people. The aim of love is to help different people to come together, and together be true to themselves and each other in open and honest dialogue and cooperation --- to fulfill their God-given unique potentials through balanced cooperative ventures. True love promotes cooperation, not confrontation; conflict-resolution, not conflict-generation; right- relationships, not self-righteousness. True love works to encourage, enable, and facilitate both personal and communal integrity. One kind of integrity cannot be promoted by regularly sacrificing another kind of integrity. Confrontations, conflict- generation and self-righteousness engender alienation which undermines integrity. Thus, love promotes cooperation, conflict resolution and right-relationships. There are many types of healthy love: brotherly, sisterly, parental, child-like, agape, romantic and sexual. Many of the aspects of healthy types of love have been pointed to above. However, there are darker sides of what presumes to be "love". There are perversions of love which are not true love: possessive, manipulative, coercive, addictive, fixated, technocratic, legalistic, prescriptive, proscriptions, exclusive, fanatical, etc. Through true descriptions, love reveals the dishonesty which is central to all perversions-of-love --- dishonesty which drives people apart into alienation, estrangement, condemnations, excommunications, etc. Perversions of love blind people to the nature of true love --- and people play collusive games of mutual self-deception --- whereby they conceal the existence of the alienative games which are being played with skillful dishonesty. The games must go on --- it seems; but true love gently seeks to expose the dishonesty of the collusive games through honest descriptions of what really is going on. Love calls for uncoerced confessions and reconciliation, not for coercive condemnations and excommunications. True love is forgiving, not condemning; inclusive, not exclusive; cooperative, not contentious; humble, not arrogant; deferential, not demanding; gentle, not coercive. There are many parts to the picture of the nature of true love. The whole picture cannot be appreciated by focusing narrowly and exclusively on any one part of the whole picture. To appreciate the whole picture we must look at the whole picture as a whole, not as isolated parts. Love has to to do with bringing separated parts together into an integrated whole --- thus promoting both personal and communal integrity. The whole picture cannot be appreciated if any part of the picture is left out of the picture we look at. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in www.essayz.com Search for Integrity and Honesty (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================Lines beginning with a percent sign are KEYWORDS for use in ESSAY-System Searches. 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