My alumni magazine came in the mail recently with two beautiful articles. Ok, the magazine had more than two articles, but these two made me stop in my tracks. One article was about the importance of forgiveness even in cases of betrayals that seem too big (read it here). It was a lovely and thought-provoking read. The second article was about Dr. Donna Hicks’ model of Dignity which has been used to promote world peace (read it here).
I’m not exactly certain why I loved this article so much. My initial guess is that I’ve never found an academic discussion that so closely encapsulated my worldview. I’ve included a photo of the essential items of the dignity model, but you can also read the list here. I was nodding my head as I read each item.
I’ve been thinking a lot about love recently as I’m sure you’ve realized as I’ve been writing about it many different kinds: Love between family members (real and fictional); Romantic love (teen dating); Love of art (fandoms, books); And love of community (see my recent haiku).
1 John 4: 7-12, 19-22
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
I was reminded recently by a sermon that 1 Corinthians 13 which is a passage that is frequently used in wedding to describe marital love, is actually a discussion of love in an imperfect and divided community.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
In my head I’ve been calling it unconditional positive regard (which is an actual thing, but I don’t think my version means the exact same thing) and have been working hard recently to use it with the people in my life. It’s not something that’s been easy recently, but I’m practicing.
I hope that you will check out both of the articles. I’m even considering reading both researchers’ books. Let me know what you think!
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