Relationships: The Meaning and Fulfillment of Life

“And, you masters, do the same things to them, not making use of violent words: in the knowledge that their Master and yours is in heaven, and he has no respect for a man’s position.”

Love, please make mine forever. Many people are gravely concerned with the dangers posed by today’s technological advances on our traditional values. Robert M. Tanseco, S.J., once wrote that technology is the concomitant tool of selfism, a philosophy that puts self and its material needs at the center of reality. According to this mind-set, technology must deliver to self what it wants – efficiently, accurately, in the fastest way, without pain. Computers, “instant” products in disposable containers and pain relievers are a few of the many tools of this mentality.

How does technology and selfism affect human relationships? Tanseco said that selfism is a philosophy of intolerance to: errors and mistakes; time and slow natural processes; and pain. And that is what makes it inhuman. For being human means to allow time and natural processes to shape our lives. True love and friendship develop over time. Physical, emotional and spiritual growth takes time. To be human means having to experience the pain of wounded emotions, disloyalty, rejection, errors and mistakes in our perceptions, judgments and actions. Tanseco concludes, “The human condition is precisely full of errors and mistakes – mistakes that need to be absorbed and forgiven. Husbands toward wives, wives toward husbands, parents toward children, children toward parents, families toward families.”

However, basic human nature nurtured by the technological preciseness is directly opposed to tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance. We would rather dispose of a problematic relationship than mend and renew it. Just like throwing away a used disposable cup.

The beauty of true humaneness is the capacity to forgive and forget; to hope and love again; to let wounds be healed; and to dispose of errors and mistakes in the ashes of a resurrected and higher way of life. That, in fact is the essence of Christian living. Jesus Christ said, “I give you a new law: Have love one for another; even as I have had love for you, so are you to have love one for another.” John 13:34. How does he love us erring, sinful mortals? “My love for you is an eternal love.” Jeremiah 31:3.

God’s everlasting love reflected in our human relationships is a key component of total health and wellness.

1All Bible quotations in this article were taken from the Bible in Basic English.

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