Monday, December 22, 2008

How to Love

I have a confession. I’m not sure this is even okay to admit, but I have come to a daunting understanding that I have an inability to love. I should say that it is not by some sort of lack of effort on my part. I try to care about people more than myself, no seriously I do. However I’m being completely honest when I say I cannot do it and not only that I just don’t get it. I mean I get love in the way that it means you care for someone and you are patient and kind to them. That has always seemed pretty basic. What I don’t get is how to truly love someone? At what point does caring then equal love or does it? What does that even mean to say “I love you”? Does it mean I think about them continually? Does it mean I do things for them? Does it mean I call and write them a certain amount that might be more than I would call or write someone I do not in fact necessarily love? Are some of us doomed to over think life so much we put a rule and format on even the most basic of concepts??

So how do I figure out what love is? Well the bible says that God is love. (1 John 4)
Okay…so what does that even mean? What has God done that shows us yes, I get it, you are love.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

So if God is love then I guess to love we do what he did. But he gave his son to die for us. Well, I don’t even have kids so that’s out. Obviously though loving will involve some sort of sacrifice and not necessarily something I would really want to do or would come naturally. But who can love sacrificially and still find joy in it? At times my mind has doubted such a genuine love could exists even though I somehow never questioned that Jesus died on the cross – the ultimate sacrifice— I just doubted he found any joy in it. I felt like if somehow I could prove without a doubt that God wanted to send his son to die on the cross then that proves everything I hoped about the world is true. Unconditional love - a love without any reason to it -does truly exist. Maybe that is where faith comes in. Faith that when the Bible says God is love it means just that. Faith that for some crazy reason God really does love us and just because my mind can’t completely figure out God doesn’t make His truths less real or certain.

The point still remains though that I can’t love. Not the way God does at least. So what is the remedy for this malfunctioning heart?

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Ezekiel 11:19-20
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”

Maybe the answer is I need a new heart, one molded to love like God, since all my efforts to fix this one have been in vain. Die to myself and trust God to heal me. Then maybe I will know how to love.

1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

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