Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How Do We Love One Another?

Lately, I have wondered about how we love one another as Christ loved us.  How do we love one another even when we have deep, fundamental disagreements?  An Upper Room devotional talks about loving one another.  Impeccable timing, Lord.  The author discusses loving each other with the love of Christ.  We are to love others, even those who persecute us.  Our love of Christ ought to inspire us to love one another with the love Christ has offered us.  It sounds simple enough as a statement, yet proves challenging as a practice.

What I've been wondering, exactly, is how we love one another without assuming the position of  "forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do."  While I have studied Luke 23 and understand ways to apply the knowledge to my life, in some circumstances it feels inappropriate and possibly condescending.  How do we love those with whom we vehemently disagree without condescending to them in our love?  Do I love those with whom I disagree or do I love them in a "bless their little hearts" kind of way?

I don't wonder about this in my daily life.  My friends are a fair mix of political persuasions, yet I do not struggle to love them in spite of their convictions.  Now, obviously I'm a Conservative.  Seriously, you don't call yourself "The Right Girl" if you're a liberal wing-nut.  I have several very good friends who are liberal.  In fact, a couple of them consider themselves to be "bleeding heart liberals" and joke they have never met a cause they couldn't cry over or protest.  I love these friends and my life wouldn't be as rich without them, even though I think their politics are borderline bat-shit-crazy questionable.  And, I'm sure they feel likewise.  Despite our differences, we are lovely to one another and get along fabulously.  Loving them and other people in my in-person, daily life is not what challenges me.

What challenges me is loving from afar.  I am finding that in our current political climate, the rage and insanity out there has multiplied.  Yes, there was frothing at the mouth during the Bush Administration, but the Obama  Administration has only served to ramp up the rabid behavior.  Maybe it's all the hyperbole in calling everyone who disagrees a racist?  Maybe it's the lack of decorum when addressing the issue of candidate's children?  Maybe the decades-old tactic of calling one's opponent has reached maximum pressure?  Maybe we've left all reason behind as a culture and the web has only served to exacerbate the insanity?

Whatever it is, I struggle to extend the love of Christ.  I recognize this post begs the question "what is the 'love' of Christ," but today I don't feel like dancing around that question.  I don't know if my frustration can be alleviated by a discussion of the meaning of Christ-like love.  In my current frustration, it would feel like discussing what "is" is and I don't have the patience for that nonsense.

What say you?  How do you address this issue of loving others with whom you have no personal contact?  What mantra loops in your brain and prevents you from riding off on your high horse on the high ground?

~ G

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