It's alarming how quickly we forget that nothing's bigger than love.
~My Favorite Highway
I don't love the right way.
Forget romantic love for just a second, because that is an entirely different conversation. I'm talking about the day-to-day love, the kind that slips into conversation pretty regularly: "Oh, haven't you met (enter name of person you met last friday here)? She's great! I love her!" It's almost grotesque how easily our emotions become attached to other human beings.
And that's all good, but it's not enough. Because we learn to love based on the goodness we see in a person. We put on rose colored goggles the first time we meet them based on the things that draw us in the first place. And then, when some time has passed and new things have been revealed, we weigh their bad qualities against those things when we liked. The conversation starts to sound like "Oh, well I know she can be a little racist, but she's great with kids!" or some equally ridiculous statement that justifies our affinity for our friends.
And this is the key- justice.
Charles Swindall says it well in his study on Job:
"There is something deeply satisfying about justice. We love it when right is rewarded and wrong is punished. The old axiom, 'Justice is truth in action' explains our love for it; what is fair finally occurs."
Sometimes we love justice much more than we love people. We like to see our scales balance out with what we think is right, and it takes control of our thoughts, especially when it comes to figuring out how to love people. And the worst part is that when we do find someone that we can love despite all the things we can't stand, we feel accomplished. Proud. As if we are super human for being able to get out of own heads and assess them honestly and still come out feeling good things towards them. As if we've done something right.
Ideally, we would learn the truth about what is just, and as a result, maybe we could continue to hold the good and the bad up in the light. Of course, before we can even begin to make these assessments, we would have to understand the whole picture- the whys and hows and whats that make people who they are, and even more so, what they are perceived to be. To be honest with you, it sounds terribly tiring to me to have to look at the big picture for everyone... I think I have a better solution.
I want to love all people without justice. Leave the fairness up to the God who created the system in the first place, and love unconditionally instead. Find the fondness for their faults that I find for what I perceive to be their greatest qualities. I want them to feel grace overwhelm them. I want to see beyond the pleasing part of the picture and love people wholly. And I want to do it without pride, because let's face it, the accomplishment isn't in learning to love someone, it's in getting away from my own twisted self long enough to realize it's not up to me to implement rulings or fairness or even mercy on anyone else's life. I haven't even mastered it in my own. And the only one I want residing over me is God.
And God is love.
And so love speaks truth.
And justice is truth in action.
It is not an easy thing to forgo justice for entire love. But it's the way I want to love- the way I want to be loved, too. I don't want someone assessing my good and bad- I want them to see me in all that I am and still want to spend time with me. Do unto others rings loudly in my ears. I'm telling you, I've been loving wrong.
Maybe we can all learn together. Maybe we can support each other until we have stopped loving people "as long as" or "because". And maybe in this, we'll remember what a catalyst of great change love can be, and we'll see change in the world around us. It's a thought that makes me feel hopeful for humanity, really.
Starting now, I am committed to learning how to love properly.