Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Love Is Hard

Matthew 22:36-40

  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
  Jesus replied: “‘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.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”


1 Corinthians 16:14

  Do everything in love.


For as long as I can remember, love has been overflowing in my life.  My parents loved a lot.  My grandparents loved a lot.  My extended family loves a lot.  My friends love a lot.  My kids love a lot.  My husband loves a lot.  I have always felt the love.  Of course there have been times when I have not, but I've never thought love was a difficult thing.  I've never thought of it as a sacrifice or a burden or anything other than wonderful.  I've never thought it as hard.  In fact, I oftentimes find myself bewildered and in a complete state of confusion at the hate that exists.  Then Saturday, I went to a funeral.  Every time I attend a funeral, I learn something or hear something in a different way.  At this particular service, there was much shared about love and acceptance and kindness given from the amazing woman who has passed; but there was one statement that stuck out to me.  It's one I've heard many times before and have even stated myself, but for some reason; it hit me differently this time.  As her grandson spoke so tenderly about his grandmother, he shared his truth.  He shared that grief was the debt we pay for love.  He shared that at some point, he would be able to celebrate the victory his granny had won; but it was not today....the pain was too much.  I know that feeling, I know it well.  The honesty in his words rang true and pierced my heart, but it mostly made me think.  Love is not always easy.  Sometimes loving people is very hard, and yes the grief we feel as a result of loss is the debt we pay for love.  As I thought about his words over the next few days, I realized that this is true in any sort of loss of relationship...whether it be by death, divorce, disagreement, gossip, abuse, etc.  I started thinking about relationships that have ended and exploring my feelings for the people involved.  And although I have forgiven many who have hurt me, I had to honestly ask myself if I loved them.  Although I do wish them well and would treat any of them kindly,  I honestly had to come to the realization that there are some that I do not feel any sort of love towards.  In fact, there are some that I would be okay never associating with again, and there are some that I no longer associate; and I'm okay with that.  So today I start asking God to soften my heart and to allow me to genuinely and unconditionally show, not only kindness, but also love to relationships that are lost....even those I may never see again. A truth for me is that it may be easier to show love to someone I've just met than to someone who has hurt me in the past.  I guess that takes more work than I realized, and I guess love is not as easy as I thought; but I know God will be working.