RELIGION ROUNDTABLE

‘Love is patient, love is kind …’

Betrayal is a most bitter pill to swallow. Not only do you find yourself in the midst of the revelation of wrongdoing, but you cannot help but feel duped, made to look like a fool for seemingly being tricked into believing someone is the person they may not actually be.

The truth is, when we love someone, we are all striving to be the person we want to be while still being the person we actually are.

I suppose what I mean is that love — real love — has a way of creating within us a desire to be more than we already are, because we want to be the best possible person for those we love.

That desire to be more than what we are — while it can help us grow, mature and learn — can lead us to failure, to those moments when the hopeful facade we’ve constructed in trying to be a better version of ourselves cracks or crumbles and the person we truly are is revealed.

One way of understanding what I mean is found in what the Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Romans: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate … I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

In other words, most of us want to do what is right (and not do what is wrong), but there are times when sin and self overcome that want, and unfortunately this happens often in relationships with others.

But what do we do when we are on the receiving end of this failure, this “revelation of bad behavior?” Well, I turn once more to words from Paul, this time to words most often heard during weddings (though I think the context of Paul’s words are better suited in the broader context of relationship): “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

Love finds a way to make it through wrongdoing. It is not easy — the very life of Jesus testifies to that — but love makes a way, with time, patience, kindness and faith.

— Chris Thomas, First Baptist Church of Williams, Jacksonville

Hate the sin, love the sinner

Basically, we love people and not their actions. Similarly, we should hate their evils and not themselves.

Every person is good by himself or herself; it is their bad deeds that make them look bad. In the Qur’an, God tells us to hate the sins without mentioning sinners. “He has made hateful to you infidelity, defiance, and disobedience of God” (Qur’an 49:7).

Sinners and those who commit mistakes can be rescued from sins and mistakes, only if we hate their sins and love them.

Most sinners do regret and desire for a second chance in their lives. They may come back as better than many other good people. We find so many examples in history of those who were staunch enemies of God and the Prophets who turned out to be the most pious ones.

It is important that we don’t completely lose good people if they are caught committing sins. Ibni-Rajab, a 14th-century Muslim scholar, writes, “The people who love God look by the eyes of God, and they are compassionate with those who disobey God. They hate their actions but show mercy to them so that through their admonitions they might leave their actions.”

So the best way to reconcile with someone who has done something wrong is to keep on loving him, and hate only the bad act that has been done by him.

Try to rescue him and pull him from under the debris of his sins, work on him, clean him and let him repent. He may come out a much better person.

— Muhammad Haq, Anniston Islamic Center

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