Apologies up front: I’m sorry this week’s post is short, but I have a ton of papers to write for school. Maybe next week will be better…
I’m wrestling with what it means to love someone, specifically the agape love which extends to all people, whether family members or distant strangers. But there’s a contradiction in my delivery. On one hand it’s really easy – I can love everyone around me without question, without reason, without expectation. On the other hand it’s really difficult – I can’t love everyone around me, all the time, without reason.
I fall headlong into agape because I’m called to do so – I believe God desires this from us in this world. We’re called to love the poor, the migrant, the queer; the rich, the patriot, the white; the happy, the injured, the vile. It’s entirely possible to do this, and I’ve witnessed people who can do it without question.
But I also fall out of agape because I’m human and petty. I mean, do I really have to love the smelly, the bothersome, the ugly? Do I have to love the people I don’t get along with, the people I don’t agree with, the people who annoy the hell out of me? Do I have to love chaotic middle school youth and snotty-Kleenex carrying old people?
As someone who frequently uses the phrase “I don’t have to like them, but I have to love them”, I find myself at an impasse. Am I truly, completely loving the people I don’t like? Am I doing as Jesus did those many years ago? Am I seeing Jesus in the face of these people I love but don’t like? Could I do that to Jesus? If I can’t love them and like them, should I love at all?
Perhaps this is the point of it all – I can’t do it alone. I can’t possibly love the people I don’t like without God’s help. I can’t possibly love the people I do like without God’s help. Love is difficult – agape, pragma, or philia –it’s all challenging and frustrating at times, and entirely impossible without the help from my Creator.
God help us all to love as you have loved, forgive us when we fail, and give us mounds of grace as we try to figure it all out.
much love. sheth.