Righteous Love

“And the love they shared was a deep love…”

“And the love they shared was a forever love…“

“And the love they shared was a righteous love…”

A righteous person is someone who will do what’s expected and correct – even when he/she won’t be held accountable for those actions – nor recognized for them. A righteous person is someone who understands his inherent obligations to others – and is committed to live up to those obligations – even those never explicitly delineated.

Righteous love is a love based on the beauty of the persona – who the person is and whom they’re striving to become. It’s a love heavily focused on a person’s core character traits and unshakeable values, his/her dreams and ambitious goals.

Righteous love deepens with time, as the quality of the loved one’s character is further revealed, and with each challenge and situation.  Travelling on a long journey, for example, whether it is the journey to another country in the time of a famine, or the journey to direct and safeguard a family, will reveal greatness of character, depth of strength, clarity, and perseverance – and will deepen and enhance righteous love. Righteous love is the love shared by our patriarch and matriarch, Abraham and Sarah.

A portal to an understanding of the love shared between Abraham and Sarah is Abraham’s comment on Sarah’s beauty: “I now know how beautiful you are”. Embedded in his praise referencing her physical beauty, is an acknowledgement of her internal beauty – with which she interacted with the world around her. Expressed in his words of admiration was an acknowledgement of the beauty of her character and her spirit. The meta-message of these words was a private – and public, announcement of how Sarah dreamed and laughed, cried, thought and engaged everything in her world.

So what do righteous lovers do differently than the rest of us? 

They understand that their responsibility is to create a perpetual podium of praise where the internal beauty of their partner will be proclaimed.

When Sarah our matriarch dies, her age is described in a way that generates discussion and speculation. It is written that she was:  “… 100 years old, twenty years old, and seven years old, and these were the years of Sarah.” And in the following verse it says that Abraham came to mourn his wife and cry for her. Some suggest that this unusual description of Sarah’s age was an expression of her general greatness. It certainly was – but it was more: It was a description of Abraham’s love for her. These words were written to confirm what we sensed earlier, that Abraham celebrated his wife’s inner beauty – expressing his righteous love – until and after the final moments of her life.

At the time of Sarah’s death at the age of one hundred and twenty seven, after having spent over one hundred years with her (!), Abraham saw in Sarah all of the purity and perfection he saw when she was 20. And when thinking about her physical beauty, he pictured her as perfect as a child of the age of 7.

This is righteous love. This is the love that should be directed at our spouses and all of the other precious people in our lives. When Abraham hears of Sarah’s death it is written that he mourned and then cried. Generally speaking, at a time of loss, the order is reversed. A person will first cry at the notification of the loss, and will then assess the gravity of the loss. In this case the gravity of the loss was paramount.

In order to build righteous love with those closest to you – do two things:

Acknowledge and Encourage.

Acknowledge: Showcase the virtues of those you love rather than – expecting them to be. Establish a top of mind perspective to look for and note that person’s dreams and hopes, what he/she has dedicated his life to achieve and the areas where he excels.

And then Encourage those outstanding traits verbally to her and to others.  Do so, not in the subtle and assumed way most do it, rather through private and public praise.

Do the same for a parent.

To My Mom and to Your Mom

(excerpt from: From Me to My Children by Ricky Cohen)

Dear Mom,

How could we ever thank you for loving us – even and most outstandingly – when we least deserved it.

 What an interesting thing…

you fought to keep showering us with your love.

We took it.

 And then ultimately we left you to further our own lives in playing your role with our children.

 And you became a burden to us:

“You’ve grown old”

“You’re out of touch”

“You’re no longer able to do this
or understand that…”

 Isn’t it funny how quickly we were ready to temper our love for you with all kinds of qualifications?

Isn’t it funny, you never said about us:
“He doesn’t walk well
nor can he eat on his own or read yet”

 You knew that was part of life’s passage for us

and you never used it to excuse giving us all the love we needed.

How is it that now we have become smarter than you and you less than us?

How is it that we feel we may respect ourselves and where we are in life, more than we may respect you, where you are, and where you’ve been?

A child’s prayer should simply be
that he may love his mom
as unconditionally as she loved him.

 What courage that will take. What a life building and fulfilling love that will be.

Warmest regards,

Ricky

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