The bible says to love everyone as myself. Which I tend to think means be nice to everyone. But life experience has taught me that love is not always pretty and nice and soft. Sometimes love is sharp and it hurts like hell. And some people would like to add to that that it is the best kind of pain. Actually no. Sometimes it is the worst. Loving can put my heart into so many situations where in the moment it seem that there is no way to win. And sometimes that is the truth.
Sometimes giving and receiving love means that you walk away from someone. And never get to come back. Sometimes it means you have to stay close to someone- that doesn´t get easier to be close to. Sometimes it means the only option requires deeply hurting yourself or those around you. And that is when you make the right choice. The right choice is a much more swift pain than the slow slip into death the wrong choice brings.
So if love is not always pretty and sweet then how do I love others the way I would love myself? My relationship with myself is not easy. We have good days and bad days. Sometimes I hate me. Sometimes I love me. Sometimes I wonder if I love me too much. Most of the time I am not even sure who I am or what I look like. And in those rare moments when I see the truth about myself it is always hard to believe and never what I expected.
So when it comes to loving others I am lost. There is a time and a place for that gentle sweet love. And even though that is the most scary kind of love to give I work hard to give it as often as I can. But when does it become more loving to be less nice than maybe the story books call for? When is it actually loving to call someone out. To call them to a higher stander. To look them in the eyes and say you can be more than this. You are settling for less than all you were meant to be. And honestly how do I do that without shouting!
God does it to me all the time and I don´t want to listen. So why would anyone want to listen to me? And yet I do listen to God. It takes time, but one of the greatest comforts I have in life is no matter how painful something God is telling me may be I can always trust that it is the best. Also I don´t have to like it right away. But even when I don´t want to listen I know deep in my heart that I will. Or maybe that I already am. But I like to push a little. Test my heart. Test his voice. Which can be both good and bad depending on which part of the bible you read.
Tension. Live the tensión.
So often when I try to love someone in a moment when I feel that less that sweet candy is required in the conversation I am received with anger, just like God receives me. God never shouts back at me. So I have been working on doing the same. But man it would feel so good!!! But unfortunately volume does not helps ones message get to anyone’s heart. Oh how I wish it did! If I could just yell loud enough than everything would be OK! Yes. The angels would sing and everyone would be perfect.
But I don´t get to yell. And I am not so good at not yelling… so most often I keep my mouth shut. It says that we can do and say great things but without love we clanging gong. Does it go the other way around? Can we be a clanging gong and still portray love?
And you know the worst part? When I manage to keep it together and not yell. To say hard things in a nice soft voice so that the heart may have a chance to hear them, most of the the time, it still doesn´t work. And I didn´t get the satisfaction of yelling.
Instead they look down at me arrogantly. As if I am such a small pitiful ittle fool for daring to approach them. They all think the same. That I am trying to destroy them in some way. And inside my quiet contained self I am begging them to understand that I am trying to save their life. If they would only listen.
I don´t feel that I have a right to speak into peoples lives and ask them to change. That’s not my place or my business. But apparently that’s not how God sees things. He made prophets for a reason. He knew sometimes someone would have to say it straight out. So the authority that I come to speak into someone life with does not come from my own personal grandeur, it comes from the heart of God. His desire to love all of us.
It helps that I have been the one receiving the hard message of love serveral times and I have listened. I am not asking anyone to sallow medicine I have not already taken. God is smart like that. Sometimes leadership means going first. Just like he did.
But why do so few listen? And why do so few have the discipline to ask the heart to change in a loving, but honest way and have people respond? It is such a desperately great need we have as people and it is such a scarce commodity.
I have a desire to love people. I don´t know how. But I have a desire. And I am working on it…… does that count?