The “Inner Recognition of Truth” That Is Faith Is Found Only in People Who Are Devoted to Caring (Continued)

It is one thing, though, when we love our neighbors for the benefit or service they offer us and another thing to love them for the benefit or service we offer them. Even when we are evil we can love our neighbors for the benefit or service they offer us, but only when we are good can we love our neighbors for the benefit or service we offer them. Then we are loving to do good because it is good–loving useful service because we have a desire to be of use. The difference between the two attitudes is described by the Lord in Matthew 5:43-47.

People often say, “I love such-and-such a person because that person loves me does me good,” but loving others for this reason alone is not loving them deeply, unless we ourselves are intent on what is good and love the good things that they do for that reason. That is being devoted to caring: the other is being focused on a kind of friendship that is not the same as caring.

When we love others because we care about them, we unite with the good they do and not with their personality, except insofar and as long as they are engaged in doing what is good. Then we are spiritual and are loving our neighbor spiritually. If we love others merely out of friendship, though, we unite ourselves with their personality, including the evil that belongs to them. In that case it is hard for us to separate ourselves after death from a personality that is devoted to evil, though in the former case, we can.

Caring makes this distinction by means of faith because faith is truth, and when through truth we are truly caring we look carefully and see what we should love; and when we are loving and benefiting others, we focus on the quality of usefulness in what we are doing.

from Life/Faith: Teaching for the New Jerusalem on Faith, Section 21

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