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Fether

The second great commandment in the law

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“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”


I can’t remember where I heard this. It may have been here, at church, or a cheesy Christian movie I watched recently.

A person was told another that they loved them, they other responded with “I hear you say this, but I don’t feel it”

Core question: in seeking to fulfill the second great commandment, what is the relationship between loving your neighbor, and them feeling the love?

Is it all about us loving them? Is it all about them feeling our love? A mix of the two? Can we learn how to love more purely by listening to how our “love” is being received by those we are trying to love? Is the purpose of the law simply to be Christlike ourselves or is the purpose to create a world where people feel loved by each other? Is there wisdom in the adage “treat people how THEY want to be treated?”

Edited by Fether

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What comes to my mind at first pass - Some people have such walls up that no matter what you do/say, they won't 'feel the love'. Another way to look at it is everyone has a bucket but if someone's bucket is full of holes, you can't fill it fast enough for them to feel like the love is adequate to fill their need.

Another thought - If a person's love language* isn't words but that's all they hear, it won't feel like they're loved. With this in mind, to your question I think it's on the receiver to try to see the effort and on the giver to try to adjust the love language they might not normally speak once the feeling of lack is understood. (hope that makes sense)

*service, quality time, words of affirmation, touch/affection, gifts - book by Gary Chapman

 

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6 hours ago, Manners Matter said:

What comes to my mind at first pass - Some people have such walls up that no matter what you do/say, they won't 'feel the love'. Another way to look at it is everyone has a bucket but if someone's bucket is full of holes, you can't fill it fast enough for them to feel like the love is adequate to fill their need.

Another thought - If a person's love language* isn't words but that's all they hear, it won't feel like they're loved. With this in mind, to your question I think it's on the receiver to try to see the effort and on the giver to try to adjust the love language they might not normally speak once the feeling of lack is understood. (hope that makes sense)

*service, quality time, words of affirmation, touch/affection, gifts - book by Gary Chapman

 

30 minutes ago, mikbone said:

John 13:34

The example has already been given.

Simple common sense proves that many people were offended by Christ’s love.  

You don’t get crucified by people that feel your love.

 

So you two are saying that if someone isn’t feeling my love, then it is entirely on them, that there isn’t any responsibility in my part to seek further understanding into what would help them feel love?

So, a couple examples.
 

Picture me speaking to Amy, who is a drinking alcohol. And doesn’t believe it is wrong to drink and I am telling Amy day in and day out that what she is doing is a sin and they must repent or they will be punished. I am doing this because I was taught that warning others of sin is a form of showing love. In our preaching to them, Amy begins on to interpret and internalize my preaching to mean “God hates you for what you are doing and wants to punish you”. This then leads them to feel depressed around me. 
 

alternativly, if I say and do the exact same thing with Tim, he interprets and internalizes it as “Fether is right… God probably does not like me drinking alcohol, I should change” and Tim proceeds to give up alcohol.
 

Are we justified in continuing our action of calling out the sin because we love them, despite the receiver’s reaction? Is it Amy’s responsibility to get over her depression or is it unchristian to continue to call her out on her sin despite us seeing what it is doing to her?

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Loving someone only means we have the proper motivation in trying to help them. It doesn't negate the importance of using wisdom nor acting under the influence of the Spirit. But if we truly love them then we will do whatever is necessary to help them. That is why it is such an important commandment because not only can it greatly bless the recipient but it can also have a sanctifying effect on the one expressing the love. Of course, as @mikbone pointed out, much of the responsibility still rests upon the intended recipient to receive that love.

Edited by laronius

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57 minutes ago, Fether said:

So you two are saying that if someone isn’t feeling my love, then it is entirely on them, that there isn’t any responsibility in my part to seek further understanding into what would help them feel love?

Nope.  My intention is to answer gospel questions with the lens of the scriptures tempered with common sense and understanding.

I feel that too many times ‘we’ discard the example that was given by our Savior for the more simple solutions.  Much of which has been plastered about by social media.

Instead of really helping someone, give them what they want.  What kind of a world would we live in, if we gave everyone what they wanted.

My youngest daughter would eat fruit snacks for every meal.

I surely don't tell my dating age daughters to do whatever their dates what to make them feel loved. 😬

And, probably 30% (at least) of my patients would either be addicted to Narcotics or on disability because I give them what they ‘need’.

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28 minutes ago, mikbone said:

Nope.  My intention is to answer gospel questions with the lens of the scriptures tempered with common sense and understanding.

I feel that too many times ‘we’ discard the example that was given by our Savior for the more simple solutions.  Much of which has been plastered about by social media.

Instead of really helping someone, give them what they want.  What kind of a world would we live in, if we gave everyone what they wanted.

My youngest daughter would eat fruit snacks for every meal.

I surely don't tell my dating age daughters to do whatever their dates what to make them feel loved. 😬

And, probably 30% (at least) of my patients would either be addicted to Narcotics or on disability because I give them what they ‘need’.

What do you make of the example I gave? How would you answer those questions?

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48 minutes ago, laronius said:

Loving someone only means we have the proper motivation in trying to help them. It doesn't negate the importance of using wisdom nor acting under the influence of the Spirit. But if we truly love them then we will do whatever is necessary to help them. That is why it is such an important commandment because not only can it greatly bless the recipient but it can also have a sanctifying effect on the one expressing the love. Of course, as @mikbone pointed out, much of the responsibility still tests upon the intended recipient to receive that love.

How would you respond to the two examples of the people drinking alcohol?  

Edited by Fether

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

Are we justified in continuing our action of calling out the sin because we love them

You are building a straw man.

Your responsibility is not to righteously point out everyone’s  sins and condemn them.  
 

You misunderstand my intentions.

You are to support your neighbors, and give them or at least offer them the assistance that they need or will accept.

They already know that alcohol is bad for them!  Remind them of your beliefs.  And explain that your understand prevents you from supporting this specific activity.   You can still love them.

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25 minutes ago, Fether said:

How would you respond to the two examples of the people drinking alcohol?  

You mean in addition to with live? I can't say that I'm super knowledgeable about substance abuse so I would have to rely more on the Spirit. Every situation is different.

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37 minutes ago, mikbone said:

You are building a straw man.

Your responsibility is not to righteously point out everyone’s  sins and condemn them.  
 

You misunderstand my intentions.

You are to support your neighbors, and give them or at least offer them the assistance that they need or will accept.

They already know that alcohol is bad for them!  Remind them of your beliefs.  And explain that your understand prevents you from supporting this specific activity.   You can still love them.

I’m not making anything or accusing you of anything. The purpose of a question is to get an answer. Im trying to understand the concept of living your neighbor and Im asking for help.

It seems you believe loving your neighbors is synonymous with supporting them? 

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28 minutes ago, laronius said:

You mean in addition to with live? I can't say that I'm super knowledgeable about substance abuse so I would have to rely more on the Spirit. Every situation is different.

I’m not talking about substance abuse. I’m talking about occasional partaking of alcohol. No addiction, just willfully consumption of wine every other day or going to the bar with friends on occasion

Edited by Fether

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Telling someone the truth is certainly a big part of true love—but it’s only a part.  Consider this anecdote, from an old Ensign article on marital love:

Stephen R. Covey relates the following experience:

“At one seminar, after I’d spoken on the importance of demonstrating character within the family, a man came up and said, ‘I like what you’re saying, but my wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other that we used to. I guess we don’t love each other anymore. What can I do?’

“‘Love her,’ I replied.

“He looked puzzled. ‘How do you love when you don’t feel love?’

“‘My friend,’ I responded, ‘love is a verb. The feeling of love is the fruit of love. So love your wife. You did it once, you can do it again. Listen. Empathize. Appreciate. It’s your choice. Are you willing to do that?’

“Of course, I was asking this man if he was willing to search within himself for the character required to make his marriage work.

The truth-telling is important; but if that’s all there is to a relationship—of course the other party is going to feel nagged!  Is there also listening? Empathy?  Appreciation for their good qualities?  Shared interests and pastimes, good conversation, inside jokes, common experience, and confidence that the other person can be relied upon in a pinch?

That said:  our minds do irrational things when we are consumed by guilt (and by extension, rationalization and self-justification) over our choices.  We lash out, we think we see judgment where it isn’t really there, we become obsessed with getting forms of validation that we shouldn’t reasonably expect from others.  If I’m spiritually going off the deep end, it’s entirely possible for someone to do everything right in their approach to me—and for me to still dismiss them as an overbearing, judgmental putz and to shut them out of my life.  In my mind, that’s what perdition is—in Spanish and Portuguese “perder” means “to lose (something)”.  A person in perdition is, literally, lost to us.  :(

So from a practical standpoint, my approach to ministering to someone in such a situation would be to enjoy the good times when they come, tell the truth when I must, follow the Sporit generally, and not make myself neurotic thinking that someone’s final spiritual state is ultimately my responsibility.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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45 minutes ago, Fether said:

I’m not making anything or accusing you of anything. The purpose of a question is to get an answer. Im trying to understand the concept of living your neighbor and Im asking for help.

It seems you believe loving your neighbors is synonymous with supporting them? 

I don’t feel accused.

I’m just trying to answer your original question.  I strenuously avoid using social media type explanations and advice in my life.  And your statement “Treat people how THEY want to be treated” is highly favored and ❤️ed in social media…

I would recommend reading Leviticus chapter 19.  When Christ pronounced the 2nd great commandment, He was referring to this Chapter, specifically verse 18.

I won’t engage in a quarrel about feelings.  But I love to search and discuss the scriptures. 😀

 

Edited by mikbone

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7 minutes ago, mikbone said:

I won’t engage in a quarrel about feelings.  But I love to search and discuss the scriptures. 😀

 

But this is the key to the question. When we are told to love our neighbor, is that commandment followed entirely in our heart, and when we say "I love this person" we are done? Or can how someone feels reacts to our actions give us insight into how we can love them more? I understand facts to don't care about feelings, but feelings are still part of the human experience. There are far too many scriptures, ensign articles and talks given about depression, anxiety, fear, sadness, joy, etc.  to suggest feelings and emotions are not important to keep in mind when learning to be Christlike.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2016/02/depression?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2013/10/like-a-broken-vessel?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/31aburto?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/tg/despair?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/tg/sorrow?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/tg/fear?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/tg/joy?lang=eng



But from what I am understanding from you, is that the commandment to love your neighbor is accomplished in your heart. As far as expressing that love, that is done case by case. Am I understanding you right?

Like you mentioned above, it is not our responsibility to point out everyone's sins. But there are many that feel that doing so IS an expression of true love. If people like that have such blind spots in their understanding, could it be that you and I have blind spots as well? My question following that is can how our neighbor responds to that expression of love give us insight as to how we can improve that love? Or grow in understanding of what it means to love the neighbor?

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41 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Telling someone the truth is certainly a big part of true love—but it’s only a part.  Consider this anecdote, from an old Ensign article on marital love:

Stephen R. Covey relates the following experience:

“At one seminar, after I’d spoken on the importance of demonstrating character within the family, a man came up and said, ‘I like what you’re saying, but my wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other that we used to. I guess we don’t love each other anymore. What can I do?’

“‘Love her,’ I replied.

“He looked puzzled. ‘How do you love when you don’t feel love?’

“‘My friend,’ I responded, ‘love is a verb. The feeling of love is the fruit of love. So love your wife. You did it once, you can do it again. Listen. Empathize. Appreciate. It’s your choice. Are you willing to do that?’

“Of course, I was asking this man if he was willing to search within himself for the character required to make his marriage work.

The truth-telling is important; but if that’s all there is to a relationship—of course the other party is going to feel nagged!  Is there also listening? Empathy?  Appreciation for their good qualities?  Shared interests and pastimes, good conversation, inside jokes, common experience, and confidence that the other person can be relied upon in a pinch?

That said:  our minds do irrational things when we are consumed by guilt (and by extension, rationalization and self-justification) over our choices.  We lash out, we think we see judgment where it isn’t really there, we become obsessed with getting forms of validation that we shouldn’t reasonably expect from others.  If I’m spiritually going off the deep end, it’s entirely possible for someone to do everything right in their approach to me—and for me to still dismiss them as an overbearing, judgmental putz and to shut them out of my life.  In my mind, that’s what perdition is—in Spanish and Portuguese “perder” means “to lose (something)”.  A person in perdition is, literally, lost to us.  :(

So from a practical standpoint, my approach to ministering to someone in such a situation would be to enjoy the good times when they come, tell the truth when I must, follow the Sporit generally, and not make myself neurotic thinking that someone’s final spiritual state is ultimately my responsibility.  

It never crossed my mind to interpret "love your neighbor" as an verb, not a noun. When you love(verb) them, it is when you serve them, be there for them, and connect with them. Loving(verb) someone requires knowing what they want/need. Only after you love(verb) them, will you have love(noun) for them.

That is actually extremely profound to me

Edited by Fether

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2 minutes ago, Fether said:

But this is the key to the question. When we are told to love our neighbor, is that commandment followed entirely in our heart, and when we say "I love this person" we are done? Or can how someone feels reacts to our actions give us insight into how we can love them more? I understand facts to don't care about feelings, but feelings are still part of the human experience. There are far too many scriptures, ensign articles and talks given about depression, anxiety, fear, sadness, joy, etc.  to suggest feelings and emotions are not important to keep in mind when learning to be Christlike.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2016/02/depression?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2013/10/like-a-broken-vessel?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/31aburto?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/tg/despair?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/tg/sorrow?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/tg/fear?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/tg/joy?lang=eng



But from what I am understanding from you, is that the commandment to love your neighbor is accomplished in your heart. As far as expressing that love, that is done case by case. Am I understanding you right?

Like you mentioned above, it is not our responsibility to point out everyone's sins. But there are many that feel that doing so IS an expression of true love. If people like that have such blind spots in their understanding, could it be that you and I have blind spots as well? My question following that is can how our neighbor responds to that expression of love give us insight as to how we can improve that love? Or grow in understanding of what it means to love the neighbor?

Did you read Leviticus 19? 

Lets stay on topic.  Instead of casting out a slew of topics like depression, fear, sadness, and joy.  

Lets talk about love.  What did Christ actually mean when He made the statement?

How did Christ love, teach, persuade, punish, etc.

In your example of Amy & Tim the alcohol drinkers, the best advice would be:

D&C 121:41-46

 

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12 hours ago, Fether said:

Core question: in seeking to fulfill the second great commandment, what is the relationship between loving your neighbor, and them feeling the love?

Is it all about us loving them? Is it all about them feeling our love? A mix of the two? 

This scripture has had two profound impacts on me.   First, I figure it is deeply intertwined with the commandment to "forgive all men".  From that standpoint, fulfilling the commandment can be a largely internal effort.  Basically, before I speak or vote on this or that issue, about this or that person or group, God commands me to come to the public square full of as much love for my opponent that I can crowbar into myself.  I figure it needs to be Christlike love.  When dealing with someone unlovable, the best advice I ever got was to picture them as a temple worker helping me through a session.  Holy crap can that be hard, but I've always found it absolutely worth the effort.  We are all brothers and sisters, inheritors of a divine birthright, everyone has that potential and capacity to be a better disciple of Christ than I fancy myself to be.  No matter how wrong, dumb, or evil they may actually be right now.  I need to see that in them. 

Second, the "as thyself" part is also a commandment and sometimes a burden.  People who hate and harm themselves do not get a free pass to treat others similarly.  It's a commandment to love thyself the right way, and then love others that way too. 

Edited by NeuroTypical

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31 minutes ago, mikbone said:

Lets talk about love.  What did Christ actually mean when He made the statement?

 How did Christ love, teach, persuade, punish, etc.

That is a simplified version of my question.

If I were to answer it now, I would say that to love someone is both to care for them in your heart and to do things that show that love to them as long as it stays within the bounds of the gospel. I think having the other person actually feel your love is a (not THE) fruit of whether you love them or not. So when we are expressing love to another it is, at least, worth our time to consider their response and decide if what we did was really loving them. Again, a negative response is not a sign that you don’t love them, it’s just worth our time to use that as a sign for introspection of some sort

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That said:  our minds do irrational things when we are consumed by guilt (and by extension, rationalization and self-justification) over our choices.  We lash out, we think we see judgment where it isn’t really there, we become obsessed with getting forms of validation that we shouldn’t reasonably expect from others.  If I’m spiritually going off the deep end, it’s entirely possible for someone to do everything right in their approach to me—and for me to still dismiss them as an overbearing, judgmental putz and to shut them out of my life.  In my mind, that’s what perdition is—in Spanish and Portuguese “perder” means “to lose (something)”.  A person in perdition is, literally, lost to us.

Thought-provoking post JAG and very true (in its entirely). I always remind others that the way someone behaves towards them (depending on the circumstances) shouldn't be taken personal because in many occasions it is actually a reflection of how they view themselves. Forgiving ourselves isn't always a straight and easy path but a journey with baby steps. Ultimately, all of us make choices and we can only do our best to love, support, understand and share each other's burdens. 

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4 hours ago, Fether said:

I’m not talking about substance abuse. I’m talking about occasional partaking of alcohol. No addiction, just willfully consumption of wine every other day or going to the bar with friends on occasion

Or coffee.  Or any other number of things.   I don't feel the need to point out to Saints that they are sinning.  They already know.  HOWEVER, as an adult convert, I. can tell you that it was extremely confusing to see Saints openly drinking beer, coffee, or other things as though it were normal and still tell others how to be good Saints.   I have zero problem pointing out to others that a person's example may not be the best to follow.   

It drove me nuts and made things difficult.  It was worse on this forum when other Saints didn't call it out.  It's confusing and not exactly in the spirit of ministry.

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I have read this thread with interest.  I have my own views of love that seems to vary from many ideas expressed in this thread.  Anciently there were multiple words in scripture that all get translated into the English word "Love".  This indicates to me that there are different levels, kinds or types of love.  One of the kinds of love was referred to in scripture as charity - and the Apostle Paul expands on this concept of charity in 1 Corinthians 13.  Paul's concept of Charity has been expanded by Latter-day Prophets as the "Pure Love of Christ".  

I am not sure that I understand the pure love of Christ.  There are many things that puzzle me.  However, I am entirely convinced that emotional connections to others (heart throbs) are not the divine expressions of love.  All my life I have struggled with love as an emotion.  My eternal wife and partner tells me that I have never experienced emotional love and that is why I have never had my heart broken.  Generally it has been my observation that when someone "follows" their heart that they are in for a train wreck and they will get their emotions broken.  For the record I do not believes tears are the result of a broken heart - One can have tears and their heart (emotions) remain in tact.

I am of the mind that all questions of love that are addressed in this thread are the result of not understanding the pure love of Christ.  @Fetherput forth perhaps one of the greatest problems in not understand the pure love of Christ.  The greatest gift that G-d has given to man is our Agency.  We like to think it is the Plan of Salvation but our Agency was a greater act of love.  At least this is according to my understanding of Charity or the pure love of Christ.  This means that despite that many may choose to sin via their Agency that we support their agency more than we reject the desire to sin.  Thus it is only an act of love to help someone overcome sin; if and only if, they choose to overcome sin as an exercise of their agency.

This concept of Agency, I believe, is directly related to the pure love of Christ.  I will not pretend that I can answer all the questions - I struggle with a lot of this myself - especially when dealing with my children and grandchildren.  Often I am convinced that in most cases when someone withdraws from their covenants with G-d (which I believe is the definition of wickedness) that such is done because, as Jesus said on the cross, "That they do not know what they are doing."  Therefore, they, as was Eve, beguiled and not intending to rebel (act out of wickedness) against G-d.  For sure - in this life we live by faith and not knowledge and therefore, I believe that many things can be repented of and forgiven in the spirit world.  Otherwise there would be no need for a spirit world.

 

The Traveler

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12 hours ago, Fether said:

So you two are saying that if someone isn’t feeling my love, then it is entirely on them, that there isn’t any responsibility in my part to seek further understanding into what would help them feel love?

So, a couple examples.
 

Picture me speaking to Amy, who is a drinking alcohol. And doesn’t believe it is wrong to drink and I am telling Amy day in and day out that what she is doing is a sin and they must repent or they will be punished. I am doing this because I was taught that warning others of sin is a form of showing love. In our preaching to them, Amy begins on to interpret and internalize my preaching to mean “God hates you for what you are doing and wants to punish you”. This then leads them to feel depressed around me. 
 

alternativly, if I say and do the exact same thing with Tim, he interprets and internalizes it as “Fether is right… God probably does not like me drinking alcohol, I should change” and Tim proceeds to give up alcohol.
 

Are we justified in continuing our action of calling out the sin because we love them, despite the receiver’s reaction? Is it Amy’s responsibility to get over her depression or is it unchristian to continue to call her out on her sin despite us seeing what it is doing to her?

No - you didn't catch where I said that "the receiver should see the effort and the giver should try to adjust the language they're speaking".

Anyway - as to your examples. A different approach is warranted. With Amy, a 'love sandwich' would probably be better than a straight out, to-the-point approach. For example, "I really care about you and want the best for you. I'm concerned about this habit and where it could lead. I'm ready and willing to help however I can. Again, I love you and see so much potential in you".

haven't read all the responses so pardon me if this backtracks - just wanted to respond since I was tagged

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