Thinking Mondays – Love People Anyway

(I don’t know if this entry will be useful to other people. It’s pretty personal to me, and although I think it is a great truth … I don’t know. I guess I think it – the idea that you should love everyone – is a great truth that is not very self-evident.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about love. (That sounds pretty sappy. I haven’t been thinking in a sappy way). In particular thinking about the loving-other-people part of:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)

So as not to sidetrack: for the purposes of this post, my neighbour is anyone I encounter anywhere (cf discussions of the parable of the Good Samaritan, and also exhortations (Matthew 5:43-48) to love your enemies and not just love the people who love you back). And one should love oneself and one’s neighbour (i.e. I’m not going to explore self-harm or lack of self-love here))

… it kind of boils down to this:

1) I’m called to love everyone I encounter.
2) I can’t do it.

It’s … kind of surprising how long it took me to work 2) out. You’d think it’d come more quickly, I’m supposed to be clever … but really this has only sunk in in maybe the last month or so, maybe even more recently. Because I can love quite a large spectrum of people, and somehow I was kind of assuming that gradually that would get up to everybody … and then that would be fine, right? And then I realised that no, there are attributes or attitudes or actions that I find hard to love and that isn’t going to just go away. I need God’s help for those.

I can’t do it on my own.

But there’s been a voice tugging at the back of my mind for a while now.

And I’m learning to listen. It goes something like this:

But they just don’t get it
Love them anyway

But they’re intolerant
Love them anyway

But they despise other people
Love them anyway

But their logic is flawed
Love them anyway

But they’re being sexist
Love them anyway

But they won’t even listen
Love them anyway

But I’m afraid of them
Love them anyway

But they’re being racist
Love them anyway

But I barely know them
Love them anyway

But they’re being annoying
Love them anyway

But I’m tired
Love them anyway

But I’m bored
Love them anyway

But they’re being wilfully ignorant
Love them anyway

… okay. I’m starting to get it.

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