Wednesday, February 7, 2007
During Valentine's season, one can't help but think of the subjects of love and relationships. Both are intertwined, and both are involved so deeply within the lives of every individual. They shape us, make us who we are, and challenge us to grow—no matter what kind of relationship it is, no matter how positive or negative it and all that it encompasses may be. Typically we think of love and relationships in the romantic sense, especially at this time of year, but I speak of them in all senses, be it romantic, familial, spiritual, a friendship, toward strangers, toward beings in general, even toward those we don't like.
We take love for granted, and, even worse, twist it into something selfish and selective. We love people on our terms, love them based on them meeting certain conditions. If people fail those conditions, we judge them, disrespect them, condemn them, make them feel guilty, try to change them, think them unworthy of our love, of our time, of us. The irony is that no one can help but fail at least one of these conditions—usually many more—for we are not perfect, for everyone makes mistakes. And we also fail for setting up these conditions in the first place, rather than loving unconditionally. It's so hypocritical.
And I know I'm guilty of "loving" this way.
Something I've been learning and striving for is to love unconditionally. It's easy to love when things are going well, but a totally different story when someone disappoints us, hurts us, severely disagrees with us, or even hates us. Unconditional love is extremely hard; it's hard even toward those we care about! So of course I know I've made and will make mistakes, but I trust that through God's love, strength, and guidance, He will help me. I've seen how much He already has worked in my life, most noticeably within the past year (which has been difficult and has contained many ups and downs), and it amazes me.
Our worth comes from God, not others, not even ourselves. He doesn't put conditions of value upon us; He loves those who don't believe in Him and those who hate Him—just as infinitely as much as he loves those who love and follow him (who still make mistakes, too). So who are we to put conditions of worth and love upon others and ourselves? I want to love others based upon His value for them. Maybe by loving this way, unconditionally, it will show others at least a fraction of how much He loves them.
The following words are an inspiration to me, and these descriptions...this is how I want to live my life. I love it because it's a perfect guideline, a perfect reminder of what love really is and what I need to work on, a perfect reminder and great encouragement to know that there is Someone who loves me like that. I want to love as He loves.
Going through a rough spot in my life, and knowing others who have, as well, there's been a lot of frustration and uncertainty felt; these following words also remind me that I'll get through it and I'll eventually see clearly, as well. And so will others.
No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.~1 Corinthians 13 (The Message, adapted)
*Where I need to put my foot in my mouth.
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Last modified Wednesday, 2/14/07