In this postmodern era, when anything goes, love can be whatever one feels or thinks.
I had a wonderful conversation with a few strangers one day, and they told me love is what I make it. And that love was about surrounding yourself with positive energy and rejecting the negative.
It sounded blissful: To purposely surround myself with people who only make me feel good, people who were friends.
But it didn’t sit well with me. It seemed too easy. While I agreed that self-love is significant to mental health and having healthy relationships, there was a component that was missing for me.
An awesome dude once said “You have heard it said that you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy but I say love your enemies. Love your enemies and pray for them so that you may be children of God” (Matthew 5:44)
Jesus’ kind of love is radical. It requires more than good vibes. It engages with the bad ones with the explicit intention to transform it. We were once enemies YET we received compassion, correction, and comfort. #mindblown
That passage continues “If you greet (love) only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?” In other words, you aint special because you’re nice to people who are kind to you. The real gangsters are the ones that can express kindness to a banshee!
New age ideas of love seem purely motivated by self-interest and maybe even self-protection. But Jesus’ love is motivated by an outcome, namely transformation of the self and the other. Sometimes to achieve such a thing there must be sacrifice. But we’re not ask to do this alone. We can share what we receive.
It is no easy feat to love one another. Let’s face it. People are cray! But there is certainly a power in humility. There is beauty in patience and hoping the best. There is peace in no longer holding others faults against them. There is also a wisdom in grace.
Here’s a modified quote by Rumi. Love…is looking at the night, but seeing the day.
It takes guts to do that.