Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Others

Metropolitan Georges Khodr
An-Nahar Newspaper Αrticle
Saturday 15 November 2014

Translated at Saint John the Baptist Monastery, Douma, El Batroun, Lebanon
   I was asked to write an article entitled “The Others”… and I said: Who are the others? What difference is there between myself and others if I love them?!...  I do not seek anything but love. Love gives me understanding. You could remain hundreds of years arguing, because the intellect always separates people. When you love, you will recognize that you are one with the others, and that you do not need human reasoning to love. Love springs from the heart and hearts become connected. Walk towards the others and tell them: “Here I am!”, and they will accept you, because you moved towards them and they recognized you as a neighbor. If you abolish distances you will become one with them...
Where will they receive you?. Is there any reception except in the heart? Only in the heart are problems solved, because your heart meets the other and they become one. Would you see the other, as an “other” if you loved him?!. Understanding comes afterwards. The intellect consecrates the heart. The heart can never destroy you, if it is pure.

   The word heart does not mean mere emotions as we understand it today. In the Old Testament it meant perceiving. In Eastern culture there is no conflict between the intellect and the heart. This is a Western outlook. In the Psalms the heart always means the person’s deep perception and this surpasses mere emotions.

   There are “other” people when you distance yourself from them, in other words, if you do not see the oneness between your heart and theirs. If you love them you will take them to heart, then distances will perish. Therefore the heart is the distance that brings together thus hearts are no longer counted.

   The “other” is the one who differs from you; hence you make him an “other”. What is the problem if he differs from you yet loves you?!. The mind is a set of concepts unless we perceive it from an Eastern point of view. Then the mind and the heart become one. I do not think that Greek philosophy made the difference between the mind and the heart as did Descartes. Our forefathers were well aware of the oneness of the person. They used to bring together emotions and intellect before they were influenced by Greek philosophy.

   The “others” are those whom you do not love. You make them “others” by mental analysis. But if you love them, they will become one with you, and part of you. When it comes to comparative theology, it is evident that if you love, you will overcome all difficulties; that is, you do not see the differences between the hearts and what minds have invented in order to become separated.

   Human beings are one nation. If your heart embraces them, they will become one with you and you will become one with them. They are one in God, that is, if they know Him. If you see them established in God, you will see neither their color nor their language; even if you see what differs between you in matters of faith you will unite them to you and to God in love. Thus you will not see them as “others”.

   When you love the “other one” who differs from you, you will regard him as one with you. Do not be afraid to love. Love always lifts you from your weaknesses. In the end, love is our trust in God. Love each person you see and do not ask about his identity. You are his by God’s commandment and not because of his virtues. You may not see much virtue in him, but you should open your heart to him, because God commands you to do so.  If you meet a person during the course of your life, serve him and do not be concerned about what he says about you. Do not worry about his opinion of you, in order to love him. You are his because God commands you to do so. Therefore there will no longer be an “other”. He will become your brother, one with you and you one with him.

   Your intellect is different from that of “other” people. They might appeal to you with their intellect or their taste or they might not. You should overpass your intellect and theirs. You do not have to go through their intellect to love them. For God has commanded you to embrace the one who attracts you to him by his character and the one who does not. You see God in him. The face of God will cover his face if it is ugly. Do not seek beauty in anyone. Love him even if he is ugly in every way. This is God’s commandment Who does not look for beauty in His creation to love. Thus, if they are all His children, then they are your brothers and hence humanity is God’s family.