My mind and heart are still contemplating this thing we call relationship, and how when it isn’t going well, we push through until we finally realize that the pushing is only going one way. Then, human tendency is to eventually give up – pain overcoming desire to maintain. Rejection is a powerful emotion. Over the weekend as the Holy Spirit has been working in my soul and mind, I have come to the point of asking, “Lord, I want to be like you. You love no matter what. Your love for me and for all is amazing! It is never based upon the reactions or actions of the one loved. Mine often is. Your love goes well into enemy territory in order to win one lost to your love. Mine only goes so far, and then gives up either in sheer exhaustion or in an attempt to run from the pain. Your love never gives up. Never loses hope. Never fails. I can’t say that about mine.”
And as I’ve contemplated this further, I realize that the only way that I can allow the love of Jesus to permeate my very being and take over my heart in order to give to another, fully and completely, is to give up my right for what I think is due me. Give up my right to be heard. Give up my right to be appreciated. Give up my right to be respected. Give up my right to have love reciprocated. I am not saying that I need to become a doormat. We humans also think that we must do one or the other – either stand for my rights at all cost or become a doormat. No, as I look at the life of Jesus, I find that he chose to give – he was never a victim. Even at his death on a Roman cross piece – he chose to give up his life because he knew that love held a better way. That’s really the point. Love always holds a better way, because love refuses to consider only what is best for me, and embraces what is best for the one loved – even at the greatest cost. (That cost can be in setting painful boundaries, or in choosing to be snubbed over and over in order to love.)
I find that this kind of love, this kind of giving of oneself is the only way to life and freedom for all concerned. There are no victims. Only very wise choices. There can be consequences, but only those born out of deepest compassion. Jesus often gave consequences, and still does for those who continue to refuse his love – but those consequences are given in the greatest mercy and for the sole purpose of making a way for the unloved to eventually experience the full measure of his love. As I look at the life of Christ, any anger he demonstrated was pointed at those who called themselves by his name and yet refused to live like he did – the religious leaders who squandered his love and taught others that their piety deserved no less than for all to squander Christ’s love in the name of religion. Most who treated Jesus poorly, who denied his deity, and who rejected his claims to be the Son of God, were met not with anger, but with sadness. He knew their end, and wanted so much more than that for them. Oh, to be like him! True freedom. True life! To be able to love no matter. No anxiety. Only peace. No writhing as he tried and tried to make them see, to love him in return. Only calm. No uncontrolled emotion rising within. Only the knowing who he was, and where he came from, and that love – his love – would be the chess piece to checkmate in the end. For in the end, nothing will remain but faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
This love is the love Christ gives – always. But, he’s God, and I am not. Can I even attain something so lofty, or must I only be given a taste of such extravagance and wish for more? Jesus says that I can experience this, only when I give up my rights, and live by the Spirit who grants the ability to attain. Only by his Spirit can I even be granted the wisdom needed to choose love, rather than becoming a “victim”. There is no other way. For, only when I pursue such love, can I ever truly experience the fullness of such love given to me. “Lord”, I ask, “Then do as needs be so that I can have it all!”
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance…. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:4-7