May 10, 2010

I Love Humanity, But These People...

Traditionally, Christians have been assigned the character and responsibility of living as "loving people." We are supposed to love our enemies and our friends. How does that happen, and what does it look and feel like?

I must remind myself that without God, it really isn't possible for me to be a loving person. I can be a "nice" person on my own. I can be a "generous" person most of the time. I can be a "kind" person on a good day. But a loving person?

Living as a loving person means I look at someone honestly. I think of what their needs are, not what my desires for and with them may be. I make a distinction between loving someone (an active process) and feeling loved (a passive process). How I interact with the other is determined more by what I believe is good and true, and less by how they treat me.

Living as a loving person means I say "no" when "no" is the best answer, not just when no is the easiest answer. Living as a loving person means I am willing to "begin again" with someone who has broken faith or made a mistake. I may have to begin again from a distance, but I am willing if they are willing.

Living as a loving person doesn't mean I can't keep score or pay attention to the details, intent, or consequences of someone's actions. My scorekeeping is always filtered through God's priorities, not my own. I can safely love not because the other is always right, but because God is always present and willing to keep and cover me as I live a loving life.

Finally, I live as a loving person because that is what God has asked of me. And thankfully, when God asks me to do something, He shows me how.

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