Metropolitan Athanasios (Nikolaou) of Limassol (Cyprus) shows that one should not say the ‘love’ word easily. It brings the responsibility of a lifelong promise of faithfulness.
Series: Family Life (FL)
Metropolitan Athanasios (full transcript):
The “love” word… A very important and a very serious word, I said that you shouldn’t say this word easily!
Do not tell the other person easily: “I love you”!
In “The Sayings of the Dessert Fathers” we find a young monk who went to his elder and said unto him, “Father, I love you so much!”. And the Father lifted up his head, and said, “I do not think you love me!” “Why, Father?” “So far, I have not found a human being that truly loves another human being”.
It is a great thing to say to someone: “I love you!”
“I love you” means that I am ready to die for you. And not that I expect you to die for me, not my killing you for me, but my dying for you!
So it is. It is impossible today.
“I am ready to kill you for my benefit! You have to do everything to make me happy!”
And the poor girls come and say, “But I want to do everything to make him happy!” That’s right, my child, do everything, but… Finally, things are not so absolute.
It is a great thing to say to someone “I love you”. And we have to say it with a lot of seriousness.
With a lot of seriousness, so we do not play with the other person. Let’s not play with this, but be very consistent in what we say.
And this word, which God has to support… it needs the support of God. Why? Because, my children, this word is not a simple word, but a word of life.
It is a word that will last for the entire life. And this word will be attacked! It will be tried, it will be shaken: will it resist or not? And when is this word shaken? Each time we encounter a difficulty in our marriage. Each time we encounter a difficulty this word is shaken.
And then you will see, does it really resist, has this word any foundation?
And it is tragic to see people who give up so easily.
They say, “I was wrong, I did not love him!” “I never loved you!”
Well, where did those words go? Where are all those words you spoke to him/her?
Did you never love him? Are you saying this now? “Now I understand that I did not love him!” Sure, others pay the price… but…
It is better to be careful, my children, to be careful… You should know that a good navigator is known in a storm. If you love the other, if you love your spouse, I want to see you in the moment when the other one does not love you anymore, or does something that betrays his/her love for you. Then your real face will become visible. No… “you are not faithful, leave, I do not want you! If you do that then I do not want you anymore!”
This is not love, it is a sick thing.
Love is to die for the other.
Bible says that: “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). I mean the core, the essence of God’s love for us, is not that he died for us, those who have loved Him, but that he died for us, those who have hated Him, did not want Him, did not seek Him, did not want Him, did not choose Him… “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.
To die for one who loves you is easy.
To die for one who hates you is not easy.
To die for your enemy is even harder!
But that is the love!
That is what Christ did. He died for us when we did not want Him! We crucified Him!
In marriage… I want to see you if you truly love in the moment when you think the other one betrayed you, refused you, deceived you, despised you!
Then your love will be revealed!
Then we will see if that word has any foundation, that word which you have said to the other: “I love you!”
It means that I stay with you forever. Whatever it is going to happen! I am ready to go with you anywhere.
As Christ said: “Do not be afraid,” says Christ, “I am always with you! Even in hell, everywhere! Wherever you go, I will be with you!”
This is a great comfort, and it is a great thing to offer the other this assurance of true love!