But, believe me, if you find you are lacking in this virtue, you have not yet attained union. So ask Our Lord to grant you this perfect love for your neighbor, and allow His Majesty to work, and, if you use your best endeavors and strive after this in every way that you can, He will give you more even than you can desire. You must do violence to your own will, so that your sister’s will is done in everything, even though this may cause you to forgo your own rights and forget your own good in your concern for theirs, and however much your physical powers may rebel. (Teresa of Avila: Fifth Mansions: Chapter Three)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Let this same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus . . . (Philippians 2)
Teresa closes this chapter by reemphasizing the importance of “perfect love for your neighbor”. “Perfect” has no escape clause for criticism, gossip, lust, fear, contempt, and anger. Perfect love for our neighbor requires “violence” to our will including submission to others, forgoing our own rights, and doing good for others. This does not teach us to tolerate abusive, resource-consuming, or predatory behaviors.
I’m surprised how much we engage in quarreling and criticism. Problems compound when we’re driven by fear and use anger or resentment as the enforcer. And then, when we don’t get our way, we appeal to positional authority or run away.
Are you tired of all the fighting? The Christian way is joyful humility and service to others along with non-violent confrontation, exposure, and destruction of evil. When we sacrifice self and do what is in the best interest of others, God will give us more life than we can even desire.