The Love Balance
Jesus told us to love our neighbor not "more" than ourselves or "less" than ourselves but "as" ourselves. This is the perfect balance.
When we love our neighbor less than our self we become the oppressor, when we love our neighbor more than our self we become the oppressed.2
The young man, who kills himself by helping others, deprives the very people he loves of his help for the scores of years he has lost. It is sometimes better for others if we help ourselves.3
Sometimes the best way to help others is to help ourselves, for in the process we may learn ways to help them. Sometimes the best way to help ourselves is to help others, because in the process we may learn things that will help ourselves.
Giving to another without return, blesses you but sometimes curses your neighbor. People need the gift of dignity as well as food and clothing. Sometimes you need to just give out of love, but usually you should insist on repayment, even if it is through the means of having your favor returned to some other needy person. This way both you and your neighbor will be blessed. If you solve your neighbor's problems for him, he will not learn or grow. If you save him once you will have to save him again and you will encourage his problems to continue. Help your neighbor, by all means, but, help him to help himself so you will help him a thousand times in the future as well.4
It is not a sin to seek gain for yourself, unless that gain comes at a loss for others. The best endeavors bring gain both for yourself and others. Seek them wherever possible.5
Balanced love will end most conflicts. If we truly love our neighbor as our self we will want to “resolve conflicts” not “defeat enemies”.
Steven Covey, claims that the most effective tool for resolving conflict is to:
“Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.”
I agree with Covey. Reams have been written explaining why this is so effective. But we have time and space here only to say practice this and meditate on this and you will see amazing things happen.
Morton Deutch, the Director of the Columbia University Center for Peace Studies, advocated another simple tool that is also amazingly effective. It greatly resembles the golden rule that Jesus taught:
“Use on your opponent the approach you would most like your opponent to use on you.”
Law #7 - Gifts