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Ten Concepts, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

37- Wrong love


There are different kinds of wrong love:

Love may be wrong in itself or in its means, its course or outcome.

An example of wrong means is the love Rebecca had for her son Jacob.

She wanted Jacob to have the blessing, but she resorted to wrong means, which was to deceive his father. Thus she exposed him to God's punishment, which was followed by the deceit of Laban when he gave Leah to marry instead of Rachel and when he changed his wages. Jacob was also deceived by his own sons who pretended that a wild beast devoured his son Joseph and he lived all his life in turmoil.

Rebecca was also wrong in that her love was not complete. She did not love Esau as she loved Jacob. Jacob also, when he grew old, did not love all his children in the same degree. He loved Joseph more than the others and this made them jealous and sought to injure him. Image: Heart My Broken Heart by BeZaX - Purity of heart صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: عمل فني لبيزاكس بعنوان "قلبي المسكور" - قلب نقي Image: Heart My Broken Heart by BeZaX - Purity of heart

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: عمل فني لبيزاكس بعنوان "قلبي المسكور" - قلب نقي

The Lord wants us to love all people, even enemies and those who offend us. It is also written, "If your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink" (Rom. 12:20).

Whoever loves at the expense of others, has no love in his heart.

An example of this is Jezebel who loved her husband King Ahab and helped him to take the vineyard of Naboth. She devised a plan to accuse Naboth by false witnesses and put him to death. Thus her love for her husband was wrong love that led him to oppress and kill and to deserve the Lord's revenge (1 Kin. 21)

Love might be wrong with regard to its outcome.

An example is that of the women who admired David's victory over Goliath and sang to him saying "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”(1Sam. 18:7). Thus they implanted jealousy in Saul's heart that led him to maltreat David bitterly and seek to kill him.

Another example is of the people who kept shouting to

Herod, "The voice of a god not of a man.”

(Acts 12:22). So, an angel of the Lord struck him, and he was eaten by worms and died because he did not give glory to God.

Another kind of wrong love is encouraging sinners.

An example of this is those who followed heretics throughout history and encouraged them creating a popularity to support their theological mistakes, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. This made them adhere to their heresies and heterodoxies and thus the church ex-communicated them. They lost their eternity, whereas if those followers had not encouraged them, they would have forsaken their heresies for not finding supporters.

Some of those followers even continued to spread the views of the hereties after their death.

It is not love to encourage a person to continue in sin.

Nor is it love to defend him or support him financially. But true love leads to repentance through revealing one's mistake, reprimanding him for it and calling him to stop doing it.

Love which encourages one to sin is not love, as stated by the Holy Bible , "He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord" (Prov. 17:15).

A person who justifies the wicked out of love, loses God's love and becomes an abomination to Him. Even this love for the wicked leads him to perish eternally as he is considered taking part in sin and the responsibility for the sinful act, its results and punishment.

When such a person perishes, he who encouraged him will be among the reasons that led to his perdition and at the same time he will be deemed resisting Truth, who is God.

The mother who conceals the mistakes of her son, so that his father may not know and punish him, does not truly love her son but rather does him harm. She corrupts him and destroys his character and his relation with God.

Also the mother who spoils her son is in a way destroying him. So the saying goes, 'Who makes you weep is weeping for you, and who makes you laugh is laughing at you'.

When you love a person, do not defend him in his wrong doing, but save him.

You can lead him to repentance, thus saving him and saving yourself of being condemned with him.

True love is to deliver him of his faults, or to justify his faults before others.

Reprimanding is therefore a kind of love.

Disciplining from those who have authority is an evidence of love as it is said about God-blessed be His name- "For whom the Lord loves He corrects" (Prov. 3:12), (Heb. 12:6).

Some people -regretfully- think that punishment is against love!! No, this is wrong; for punishment keeps you from continuing in sin. If a sinner does not benefit from it, the others will benefit as St. Paul the Apostle said to his disciple St. Timothy, "Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear" (1 Tim. 5:20).

Some people may think that love calls them to support others even in their wrong doings.

An example of this is the student who assists his colleague to cheat in the exams out of love for him! Or the father priest who helps one to conclude an illegal marriage claiming that he is helping a person to marry the one he loves; or the doctor who helps a girl who sinned to abort the child to avoid embarrassment.

Another example of wrong love is the husband who restrains his wife at home.

Restraining is not correct, but a husband should deepen his love for his wife so that she might be attached to him. The wife's love for God prevents her from deceiving her husband. Restraining and restricting the wife at home is a kind of selfishness which deprives her from enjoying her life without any fault on her part.

Over zealous love is also a wrong type of love.

An example of this is the love of Peter the Apostle for the Lord Christ. This love made him draw his sword and strike the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The Lord reprimanded him for that action (John 18:10,11).

Another example of wrong love is the mother who is over protective of her children and their health, even preventing them from fasting. She may even ask his father confessor to prevent him.

Unlike this is the saintly mother who, in the days of martyrdom, witnessed her children being martyred before her eyes, even on her lap, and yet encouraged them in their faith.

When we speak about love, we mean true love which results in one's salvation and success on the spiritual way.

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