Loving someone does not mean you should support the wrongs they do. Many people who love others and try to help them out of problems like gambling, drinking, casual sex, etc., find themselves defending the other person and slipping into their way of life. There is a fine line between being with people and loving and helping them, and in an attempt to reach them accepting at least part of their way of life. If at all times you keep in your heart, mind, and soul what it means to truly love, you will have no trouble knowing where that line is.
If you choose to love, you will constantly have to decide what you should do in particular situations. The natural tendency is to take a middle of the road position that seems to be positive toward everyone involved without being too negative toward yourself. You then declare that your decision is based on love, and all seems well. Loving is not that easy, every single decision about love must be made from your heart, mind, and soul.
If you want to love you must search your very being for the answers love requires, and you must be willing to accept without change the answers you find. You are driving home from work, heading for a birthday party your spouse and friends have been planning for you. Traffic is heavy on the highway. You see a man hitchhiking, he seems unsure of his footing, as you get closer you can tell he is drunk. If you stop you are sure to be late for your party, anyway, there are lots of cars one of which is bound to pick him up, and he doesn’t look like he will stagger into the roadway.
You think, “he may be pretending to be drunk so he can rob somebody, a policeman is bound to drive by, I can call one on my mobile phone”. Time to decide what to do. You want to drive on by him and not have to decide, but you know you have to stop or not stop. You stop your car, help the man into the passenger seat, he mumbles the town he is going to and then passes out. You try to call your spouse but get the answering machine. When you reach the right exit, you get off and try to rouse your passenger. He gets sick and throws up, you stop to let him get some air and to clean out the car.
You’re forty minutes late for your party, and your spouse is still not answering. You think about leaving him at a gas station, but you help him back in the car and go on. He sees a bar, yells for you to stop, and curses you when you don’t. You arrive in his hometown, but he is too drunk to remember where he lives. You find a motel, get the hitchhiker a room, and pay the desk clerk to look in on him to see he is all right and to bring him breakfast the next morning. You buy him some clean clothes and put them in the room.
You call home, your spouse answers and then slams the phone down. Finally you arrive home three hours late, your guests have gone, your spouse and kids are mad, you are hungry and cold. You think about all the hassle you went through; the party you missed, your party; the drunk hitchhiker cursing you. You think, I hope I never get into another situation like this one, but if I do, I’ll do it all over again. If you have not completed your search you may not understand the love given the hitchhiker. If you have, you know that if you choose love you would do the same things the driver did.
If you love someone, whether they are your child or a stranger, you will do the very best you can for them. If you love someone you will do the best you can, every moment of your life, even if it means that you do not have enough to meet your own needs. You will have compassion for every human being who does not have enough to eat, and you will invite them to eat with you.
You will care for those who are sick until they get well. If you meet someone who is homeless, you will find shelter for them. You will spend time with those who are lonely, and you will listen to their problems. You will help them not because it makes you feel good, but because you love them. You will give them the love that is in your heart, mind, and soul.
Sit back and think and think and think about loving people with true, pure, real, love. Take all the time you need to feel and experience the love inside you that you can give to all people. Complete your search of your heart, mind, and soul and know and understand love.
You choose love, that means everything is all right, right? In a very real sense the answer to that question is yes, for you everything is all right. Everything being all right does not, however, mean that your life on earth will be physically better. It will probably get much worse, for those who choose not to love will be doubly hard on those who do.
If you love someone you will not hit them when they strike you. You will give them food, and drink, and shelter even if they hate you and even if you end up not having enough for yourself. If you love them you will help them when they are sick, even if they have cheated you and cursed your stupidity. You will love them no matter what they do to you, with the knowledge that you are doing what all human beings can and should do.
What if the choice comes whether to kill someone, or be killed by them? We cannot see how someone could choose to intentionally kill someone they love. Let us simply say it seems to us that if you continue to exist after death, and if it is true that if you love someone you will never kill them, then you have nothing to fear if because you love you die and enter an existence filled with love.
You never “have” to commit any violent act against another, it is always your choice to do so or not. If love requires rejection of all violence against another human being, those who understand love should understand it is worth enduring pain in this life if accepting such pain leads to love, both now and in whatever existence follows death. Death followed by a joyful eternal life of love, day after day, year after year, millions of years after millions of years, forever and ever and ever and ever, seems far superior to a pleasant life followed by a loveless eternity. We need to remember that no matter how hard we try to avoid our inevitable deaths, the fact is that we live lives that are no more than single grains among the infinite sands of time (additional comments can be found in the Appendix A Fanatic Life or a Normal Life? and in our other books).
If love is right, even one decision not to love is wrong. When you complete your search perhaps you may not agree with us that you will never inflict physical harm on someone you love. The answer you find to this question, and other questions less dramatic but as hard or harder to answer, is to be found in your knowledge and understanding of love. After you have completed your search, and know and understand love, you will have to decide for yourself whether or not our answer to the question about killing, as well as our answers to the many other difficult questions, are based on love, or not. We believe they are, but perhaps they are not.
We believe that after you complete your search of heart, mind, and soul you will know and understand that if anything is true, it is true that every moment of their lives each and every human being can and should love each and every other human being. Indeed, if every person chose to love every other person as they would have those people love them, if every person chose to love every other person as himself or herself, then each of us would do the very best that we could do for every human being in the world. There would be nothing more that we should do for each other, nothing more that we could do.
One essential warning, when faced with a hard question the normal human response is toward self-interest, with elaborate arguments to justify the answer and make it seem to be the result of love. The answer dictated by love is often (for some people almost always) very, very, hard to accept. Yet we are convinced that if you choose love you will accept the toughest of answers, and will find peace and hope in your decisions. At all times you must be absolutely certain that your answers are based on the knowledge and understanding of love you find in your heart, mind, and soul. You must be certain that you always choose true, pure, real, love.
Each moment of hate is a moment when you could have chosen love. If love is best, what could possibly be better than choosing to love every moment of your earthly life?