LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS

LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS

  1. St. Paul says that love “bears all things” More than simply put­ting up with evil, it means “holding one’s peace” about what may be wrong with another person . . . limiting judgment, checking the im­pulse to issue a firm and ruthless condemnation: “Judge not and you will not be judged” (Lk 6:37). Although it runs contrary to the way we normal­ly use our tongues, God’s word tells us: “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sis­ters” (Jas 4:11). Being willing to speak ill of an­other person is a way of asserting ourselves, vent­ing resentment and envy without concern for the harm we may do. We often forget that slander can be quite sinful; it is a grave offense against God when it seriously harms another person’s good name and causes damage that is hard to repair. Hence God’s word forthrightly states that the tongue “is a world of iniquity” that “stains the whole body” (Jas 3:6); it is a “restless evil, full of deadly poison” (3:8). Whereas the tongue can be used to “curse those who are made in the likeness of God” (3:9), love cherishes the good name of others, even one’s enemies. In seeking to uphold God’s law we must never forget this specific requirement of love.

 

  1. Married couples joined by love speak well of each other; they try to show their spouse’s good side, not their weakness and faults. In any event, they keep silent rather than speak ill of them. This is not merely a way of acting in front of others; it springs from an interior atti­tude. Far from ingenuously claiming not to see the problems and weaknesses of others, it sees those weaknesses and faults in a wider context. It recognizes that these failings are a part of a bigger picture. We have to realize that all of us are a complex mixture of light and shadows. The other person is much more than the sum of the little things that annoy me. Love does not have to be perfect for us to value it. The other person loves me as best they can, with all their limits, but the fact that love is imperfect does not mean that it is untrue or unreal. It is real, albeit limited and earthly. If I expect too much, the other person will let me know, for he or she can neither play God nor serve all my needs. Love coexists with imperfection. It “bears all things” and can hold its peace before the limitations of the loved one.

Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Love"), Pope Francis 

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