Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Friday, December 24, 2010

Labels

I had lunch with a dear friend yesterday and we talked about life, situations, people and relationships. We talked about managing relationships, how we are to deal with parameters, areas of feelings and emotions, where we are to put limits. As we talked we started to label the type of person we were striving to be. The labels were ways of defining or putting definition to our interactions.



As we talked I began labeling, identifying the behaviour patterns being sought into categorized names. We came up with labels both during and afterwards identifying behaviours in categories like; sympathetic narcissist; a narcissiscynic; empathetic hedonist; benevolent self-aggrandizer; benevolent narcissist, a socialite hermit In the use of labels we were probably inordinately, attempting to control our reactions and expectations of those with whom we deal with on a regular basis. We wanted to establish the rules governing how we dealt with the pain of relationships, the lost value as individuals in our relationships, the failed expectations of others to empathize with us, to love us, to help us find meaning in life through those very relationships causing us the pain. What a dichotomy.

It is always unfortunate and often perplexing that those things most dear to our lives are more often than not those which we are most readily willing to sacrifice. From that we recognize and adjust our expectations to comply with reality. I am guilty as well, a listening ear, a sympathetic shoulder are not always what I want to give, but, it is in the giving that the rewards of life are found. Another dichotomy.

This is the season of gift-giving, a time to bestow a present, in some ways to affirm the value of a relationship. It is often remarked that it is the thought that counts in order to assuage hurt feelings. However it is probably more an issue of not listening and understanding the needs and wants or esteeming the value of a person with insight into what gift will have the most pronounced meaning. In some ways the measure of the relationship is quantified by the quality of the gift. Quality seen in this instance as a measure of discrimination of the person's being, knowing who they are and what they are about.

This has become difficult in our multi-faceted culture, where the speed of communication is a priority, but the depth of content is minimal, where messaging is anonymous or at arm's-length, where the personal touch is the touch screen on an
I-pad, where the balance between work and home-life are skewed, where stress has replaced rest, where joy and peace are mere words used at Christmas and that without meaning. 

Into this culture comes the message of God's love in the birth of His Son Jesus Christ.
Into this culture comes the message of joy and peace.
Into this culture comes the message of God's love and His goodwill toward man.
Into this culture we enter as Christians, proclaiming a better way, expounding on the value of human life, it's inestimable potential in God's eyes, its immeasurable excellence.

Yet, we of all peoples may fail at loving as we should.

From 1 John; "Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother ... He who does not love his brother abides in death ... but whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? ... let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth ... let us love one another, for love is of God; ..."

Tillich said, "Love is the tension between union and separation" Love is the moving power of life that seeks the unity of the separated. An individual needs to find unity with others, but without sacrificing its own identity nor violating the other's identity. The polarity which exists between absorption and abandonment are also expressed by the presence of fears and essential needs of each individual.

God's love shown to us is to provide the influx of courage to step out and love unconditionally without ever losing our sense of self, because self is rooted in the love of God and His sacrificial love for us.

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