What is love? Is it that warm, fuzzy feeling that is felt when in the presence of special friends, family, a spouse? Maybe. But, what if love is not an emotion? What if love is an action shared with the world encompassing all of creation including humanity and the earth itself? Compassion, tolerance, understanding, non-violence, stewardship – perhaps this is the love that will save our earth and its inhabitants. Perhaps this the love which the author of 1 Corinthians was setting before us as a challenge? Let’s try it.
Today, the day after the horrific mass shooting in Pittsburgh in which eleven of my brothers and sisters were murdered, it is extremely difficult to practice what I know the Lord of my life wants me to do – love. Today, I am rebellious. No, I will not love those who hate enough to kill. No, I will not forgive those who hate enough to be unforgivable. No, I won’t.
Then Jesus says, “But, you must because that is the beginning of healing.”
So, I will experience what humans experience. I will allow the anger, the disappointment, the horror, the disgust, the sorrow, and the denial. I will allow this and move on to the necessary work of forgiving. And trust me, this is work. It is soul work which is not inherent in our human condition. I too want to lash out at those who are hateful. I want to beat them to the ground and scream, “What is wrong with you?”
But that would be giving them the victory. That would be denying the instructions of the One who lords my life. I would become an instrument of hate rather than love.
“God make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”