Heavy rain stops as abruptly as it started; without as much of the hint of warning. Unloving responses from others, similarly, end without prediction in response to our overtures of love toward them.
This principle only makes sense in hindsight after we’ve seen it work.
We know it should work in theory, and this is what motivates us to work in love toward those who hardly deserve it. That is, those who go against us despite how we interact with them.
There is a more elementary problem. Just how do we love someone when there’s no love coming back?
It’s Nothing to Do with Them
How we treat people is really nothing to do with them as persons.
The first moment that we understand how we treat people is nothing to do with them as persons is the first moment we’re freed to love everyone every time.
The more we understand that people are the way that they are because of thousands of reasons the better we see they’re not really directly at war with us at all. They are just trying to overcome their own problems; many just don’t do not know what, how or why.
No matter how carnal or pathological another person is they are a child of God.
No matter how much they reject the fact of God, or resist love, this fact can’t be changed. It is what it is.
We may still be threatened by this person, or by people like them, but as soon as we look these facts squarely in the eye, the personal nature of the conflict and our history with them dissipates, slightly but significantly.
The very next person, just like us, could receive the same treatment—so it’s not really personal at all. If only we can depersonalise the conflict, we have a better way of understanding their unique position.
Understanding Love Is of
There’s nothing more important to God than love.
Besides the eternal purpose in redeeming humankind, the Father has sent his Son to show the world how to love, and why we love.
God knows how important love is by the fact that love never really fails. In saying this, we need to understand that if the reasons for hating a person or people are dealt with, love is no longer very hard to do at all. We know, intimately, that we need to love them.
If we connect these two ideas—that a person’s dislike of us is nothing personal, and the importance of love to God—we can become compelled to love. It can become so natural, so implicit to our nature, because compassion has become us—a thing only the Holy Spirit can do.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.