I wrote this as a reply in the forum on a discussion on cult activity, and wanted to post it as a blog, as this is information I feel strongly about in regards to negotiating compassion, love and non-judgement toward others.
To have unconditional love and acceptance for all of humanity, being non-judgmental, and allowing others their personal freedom, doesn't mean that one necessarily literally turns the other cheek, or allows someone to murder or seriously harm oneself or others.
In fact if someones hurting others, our instinctive loving compassionate ethical response is to intervene to protect the person being hurt, we should follow these intuitive instincts to protect self and other from genuine harm. Because we must also show that same love, compassion, and respect of personal freedom to those being harmed as well, and to self, and in order to truly show love for self, and for others, we do our best to prevent harm and abuse from happening to anyone.
So one intervenes, runs away, takes whatever action one deems is most compassionate and reduces harm to -all- involved, treating the 'harmer' as well as the 'harmed' with love and respect as best one can.
I don't believe you are really loving and helping and empowering a persons freedom, if you passively allow them to actively harm other people, themselves, or your own self. Allowing an abuser to abuse, a hurt person to hurt others, is not being compassionate toward them, as they are also damaging themselves in the process.
If you truly unconditionally love someone, do you allow or encourage them to be an abuser? to harm others? Are they not also harming themselves and their own spirit in their activities. Tough unconditional love, with conditional relationships means healthy boundaries, it means not enabling people to engage in activities that harm themselves and others. Really loving people all people, means letting others know when their actions are outside the range of what you think people living in healthy loving communities should look like. Respecting your freedom for your own limits is as important as respecting theirs... without that self love, and trust and respect in your own ethics, beliefs, and instincts, without that compassion toward self that creates healthy personal boundaries, you can effectively manage unconditional loving relationships with others.
One creates healthy limits and boundaries, communicates them, and expresses one's personal limits. We choose what is acceptable and allowable from the people in our lives. We have the option to set healthy boundaries, and enforce them. Unconditional Love, Conditional Relationships.This type of 'tough love' is healthy, to have limits on what types of behaviour you will allow others to treat you with, or to engage in around you. You have the right to insist on things, from whether someone will touch you, or smoke in your home. Some healthy boundaries come natural to us, and others we may struggle with.
Is this subjective, tricky to define ground? in terms of what is harm and what isn't?, what should be interfered with or not, what one 'judges' as harmful or abusive? absolutely.
Like it or not, life can be no other way, we cannot be removed from our subjective perception.
So we just struggle by to do our best, to make the most compassionate, respectful loving ethical choices we know how to according to the best of our knowledge, and be gentle with self and others, understanding they are doing the same.