Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Difference Between Loving Somebody and Trying to Control Somebody

It's taken me a long time to realize that some people in my life have attempted to control me, under the guise of what I assumed was love.

As they say, better late than never!

The difference between love and attempting to control has been on my mind, lately, and this is what I’ve figured out so far…

If we are loving and kind towards others only when they do what we want (but resort to silence/withdrawal, nastiness, violence or other forms of punishment, when they don’t) then it’s not really love or kindness at all. We are simply attempting to control them! 

We try to control or manipulate their behavior by rewarding them with our “love” when they please us, but punish them by withdrawing our “love” when they displease us. 

If love can be given and then snatched back when things go wrong, how can it possibly be love? 

Love simply loves, no matter what! It loves whether the recipient is absent or present, naughty or nice, returns the feeling or not. Love always seeks the path that is in the highest good of all parties. (If somebody has to lose, in order for the other person to “win”, something ain’t right. Love is not a competition!)

Love is freedom!

The same holds true whether it’s love between a parent and child, a husband and wife, or love between friends.

I know one mother who is the epitome of unconditional love. When her son was 15 years old, he got involved in drugs and crime and violence. Within a few short years, he was a dealing drugs, and constantly involved in street-fights.

His mother simply kept loving him and praying for him, and reminding him of all the values she had tried to instil in him since a child. She didn’t dis-own him, she didn’t avoid him and she didn’t shun him. She treated him with the same affection as all her other children. 

Perhaps in the privacy of her own room at night, she wept bitter tears of sorrow and despaired that her son would get himself killed before he ever changed his ways.

One night, high on drugs and alcohol, he crashed a car with four passengers inside. Thankfully, no-one was seriously hurt. He still didn’t change his ways.

His beloved father passed away. But he still didn’t change his ways.

His mother kept loving him anyway.

And then he got sick, really sick. He was taken to hospital with pneumonia, his lungs filled with fluid and for weeks he hung precariously between life and death.

Finally, he saw the light - literally.

Inside his own mind, he began to talk to God. He said: “God, if you’ve got a reason for my life, if you’ve got something for me to do in this world, then save my life and I promise to do your work.”

He pulled through and after months in hospital, he walked out of that place a changed man. He was 21 years old, and his days of dealing drugs and fighting in the streets were over. 

He gave his life to God, as promised, and his fists of rage were transformed into helping hands for the poor and the downtrodden.
(That was several years ago, and he's still keeping his promise to God, still giving away his time and his talents for free. I know, because he is a dear friend who has taught me so much about generosity and faith.)

And, although his mother rejoiced to see her son change his life, she just kept loving him…the same as she always had.

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