Protecting Those we Love Takes on Many Faces
Most often when we think of protecting someone or something our first thoughts go to combat as in a military deploying troops to protect a country from an innumerable slate of potential advances. This is only one aspect of what it means to protect. To defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc.; or to cover or shield from injury or danger. This obvious face of protecting those we love is too large a topic to address here. So let’s look at protecting those we love on a more personal level.
Remember that love begins in the heart and is expressed through action. A form of protection might be that of safeguarding one’s reputation. Would love seek to tarnish another in a way that causes emotional harm to them? What would be the reason(s) for such a drastic means of harming someone? More importantly what would be the ramifications to that person’s life as a result?
Social media has created a playground for those who have not developed the ability to protect others. Youth today are struggling to navigate America’s hyper sexualized culture along with the unbelievable difficulty that comes with just being a teenager. Sexting has become a normal part of the youth experience. If we receive a photo via text or social media that is less than dignified would love spread that image, even to their closest friend? No. Love would protect that person and love would seek to stop the chain of custody. So it is with any set of circumstances that we find ourselves in when it comes to having to make a choice about what to do about any given matter. We can either choose to continue the harm or stop it at its source and protect the innocent and / or vulnerable from being exploited further. The harm that comes to someone who has had their image spread on social media can be vast. Many youth have committed suicide over such a matter.
Adults struggle with similar onslaughts from those who would seek to harm them by circulating false information about them, especially on social media. We are given tools to defeat such harmful attacks. Remember that love covers. Love does good to those that hate them. Love does not fight back. Abraham Lincoln gave us a good example of winning this battle. He made it a personal policy to make his enemies his friends. This is not only protecting others from potentially devastating effects of slander and the like, but it protects the one dishing out such acts by showing them their own intrinsic value. That is the end goal of what love does to protect.
Ways to Protect Those We Love
- Their character and reputation – Never spread rumors or engage in gossip even against someone you don’t know.
- Their Well Being – Always encourage and find the positive attributes of others. We all have them.
- Their Future – Refuse to rehearse (and repeat) an offense, rather protect the dignity of others.
- Their Physical Body – Physical abusers were often abused physically. They prey on those weaker so they can conquer. Violence is rampant in today’s world and we must work to end it in the heart.
Love Does Not Delight in Evil but Rejoices With the Truth
In our advocacy work in human trafficking there have been many occasions to hear rejoicing at another’s fate. This always saddens. Love does not delight in human suffering. We should be sad at the loss of a life of any human being regardless of the reason for that loss, whether through an arrest, a court sentence, or a death.
Upon the execution of Karla Faye Tucker (TX) many years ago, the crowds that had gathered outside the prison rejoiced when they heard the news that she was pronounced dead. Now I realize this is an extreme example in order to show the reality of what “not delighting in evil” means but most likely most of us have heard these sentiments from others throughout our lifetimes, albeit in much lesser circumstances.
To “not delight in evil” means that we will not gloat over someone else’s guilt. How many of us rejoice when someone is found guilty of a crime or caught in a sin? This is not exemplary of love. Virtues of others, not their vices give us cause to rejoice. Missing the mark is an occasion for sorrow, not for joy.
Learning From the Elephant
We can learn much from our animal kingdom. “The newborn elephant is born into a community of love. Calves have more than one mother so to speak, as all are willing, eager teachers, from the matriarch, to her offspring and their young. They want to nurture, protect and help the youngest among them develop.” Click this link to read more from the source quoted here.