From the archives – Fall 2005
(I had a conversation with a fellow classmate from grad school that had my mind reeling. As we spoke after class in my car under the soft orange glow from the parking lot lights, we pondered what it means to love someone and the pain that can bring. It’s been a few years since my conversation with her, and after the trial and error of trying to love again, I find I am getting closer to knowing the love of God and getting better at giving it to others.)
God has been teaching me a lot about love over the last two years. Through my relationships, seminary, and everyday life, I am seeing what it truly means to love.
I asked the Lord, How am I to love today? Through the circumstances of my life, He brought about this question of love and has asked me how freely I am willing to give it without expecting anything in return. In light of that, I wondered about the implications of this on my life. How can I love my friends? How can I love my coworkers? How can I love my fellow man? How can I love my neighbor? How can I love the driver or pedestrian on the road? The list goes on and on . . .
It’s easy for me to love my nephew. I love him and don’t expect much from him because he is too young to show many outward signs of how much he loves me. And as far as I can tell, he doesn’t yet know that he ought to love me and others. However, how little grace do I give to adults who I expect to love me no matter what? I feel they should meet the expectations I’ve set for them on how to love me. Sadly, this attitude betrays a myopia no one ever cares to admit — it’s all about me.
Yet, do I ever consider that perhaps they have the same hindrances to love — I have the same hindrance to love — as my baby nephew does? As adults, we may know what we ought to do, but it doesn’t mean that we do it. Yes, in our broken world, the “ought” does not necessarily mean what “is”. Yet, no matter if another person doesn’t live up to the ought, I am not relieved of my responsibility to uphold the ought, that which God has called me to do.
I expect that if I should do something and I do it, then it’s logical to assume that others should respond in like fashion… But that is not always the case in the midst of a broken world.