This post by Fr. Andrew Damick on his “Roads from Emmaus” blog is truly inspired: Love is Not a Two-Way Street. I highly recommend everyone to go and read it. It touches upon not only loving your enemies, but loving those who don’t always love us back, which sometimes can be even harder. However, it makes the progression of that passage in Luke 6 make even more sense – ” But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return”
Now, there’s not much that I can add to what he’s written on the subject, it’s that good. 🙂 However, in one of the comments, there’s a question that kind of intrigues me, and since it hasn’t been ‘answered’ in the months since, I figured that I might take a shot at it. The question is as follows: Other than the love of God, do we need love? If the answer is no, we don’t need to be loved by anyone else, since God loves us, how do we react to a spouse that doesn’t love us? We need to love our spouse. We need to loved by God. We need to love our neighbor. But it seems to me that we don’t need these people to love us in return, since we are loved by God. Needing to be loved by people is an addiction in a way. What say you […]?
I don’t know that we don’t need to be loved by others; on the contrary, we need and long for love from others just to find our place in this world, to have a chance at encountering this world in a healthy and adult manner. We need and crave the love from parents (and children who don’t get it have tons of problems) and from friends and, as we get older, often from ‘romantic’ interests, leading to such relationships such as marriage. The Love of God is always there, but a lot of the reason that we can experience God’s Love is because we have experience of love, imperfect as it may be, in others.
That being said, there are those who will devote themselves to God, and through their spiritual development, can learn to detach themselves from this world, including earthly relationships, and live solely in the Love of God. This, however, is extremely rare, and probably shouldn’t be attempted by 99.9% of the population. For the rest of us, then, these relationships on earth remain extremely important for our overall well-being.
Is it an addiction though? I would argue that it doesn’t have to be. Someone who is living a generally ‘balanced’ life can love and be loved in a very healthy manner. It’s kind of like food – just because one must eat pretty much every day doesn’t mean that one is addicted. It’s when things get ‘unbalanced’, that there’s a problem. Someone who craves food all the time will tend to overeat. Someone who craves ‘love’ – and a lot of times it’s less love than just general attention – will often do really bad things to try to get this attention, be it sleeping around or having an insatiable need to be the center of attention or whatnot. That’s where the danger lies, but at this point, it’s not even love anymore, because there is no such thing as too much love.