The Bad News First

You can’t pay attention to broadcast or online news without getting a faceful of frightening, infuriating filth. Oppression, Lies, Vanity, Danger. Human beings doing their worst to one another. Partisan views. Yellow journalism. And a story about a middle schooler who crochets toboggans for shelter pets.

This morning, I have no middle schoolers to report on.

When we look at the wars, foolish controversies, and capricious cruelty of our world, our inner 4th grade girl keens, “Why can’t everyone just love each other?”

Great question, Madison.

I’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news first.

Love isn’t what you think it is.

Love isn’t permission to do whatever you want. Love isn’t approval for selfish choices at the expense of others. Love isn’t sexual gratification. It’s not a thrilling emotion.

Your culture tells you love means agreement. Love means letting you do your thing even if your thing is deceptive, dangerous, and destructive. Even if you look like a fool, love means silence. Until you don’t want it to. Then love means defending your foolishness to others. Publicly aligning with what might destroy you, but it’s, by gawd, what you’ve decided, so people can agree with you or be assaulted on Facebook tough it.

Love isn’t covered in pink flowers. It’s dressed in coveralls and carrying a shovel.

Love is higher, harder, and holier.

Love is sacrificial.

Love inconveniences itself.

Love confronts. Not to fight, but to point out the elephant in the room and ask to please stop shoveling dung and live an elephant-free existence.

Love is born in conflict. Love can’t be seen in the agreement times. If everyone agrees with me all the time, I will think I love everyone I meet. It is not until I differ with someone, that I can tell if I love them, or if they can shove the hell off. Likewise, they figure out if I am worth the trouble.

Why does love need to be patient? Because I am an asshole unbelievable jerk.

Why does love need to be kind? Because I am unkind.

Why does love does love not envy or boast? Because one of us isn’t better or worse than the other. We are both sinners.

Why is love not arrogant or rude? Because momentarily, we will switch places and need the other’s mercy and grace.

Why does love not demand its own way? Because my way isn’t THE way, it’s a way.

Why is love not irritable or resentful? Irritability shows that I’m afraid to communicate, because I know it’ll be on me to change. Resentment reveals my tendency to think you deserve the best, but I deserve better first.

That’s probably just me.

Why does love bear all things? Because love knows it isn’t a treat to live with either.

Why does love believe, hope, and endure all things? Because it’s believing God, not me. Hoping in His promise, not mine. It wants to win the war for our hearts together, not a hundred battles against each other over trivia.

Why does it always protect? Trust? Persevere? It just does. Because it’s love.

In the meantime, love doesn’t let me by with immaturity. It tells me when it knows I’m better than my behavior. It makes my growth and maturity its own priority. It prays for me. It sings songs to the LORD over me.

The good news. Is that you are loved beyond all reason. You are cherished by your Creator, even when you are at your unreasonable worst. I am, too. There is a place to find true love and objective truth. It never changes. It judges your fist-shaking defiance, and places your consequences on Jesus. It chastens your legalistic accusers, and tells you to “stop-doing-that,” as soon as the door swings shut behind them. You can’t outrun Him or outsmart Him. He’s waiting when you stop trying to be beyond the scope of Him.

To the people who have to put up with me, I am aware that “those who can’t teach.” We can talk about it over dinner.

I love it when you sass me. Please leave a comment.

%d bloggers like this: