Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Struggle and How Love Will Fix It

I am struggling.

I'm struggling with the world. With people. With myself. With beliefs and lines drawn and red-faced anger and thrown punches.

I'm struggling.

With love. And grace. Mercy. Faith. Forgiveness.

I'm struggling with the way it feels when everyone sees the world in black and white, but mostly I just see grey.
I'm struggling with the way it feels when hatred is the first and easiest thing to come out of our mouths. When love seems buried so deep and unattainable that it may never come out when it feels like it needs to.

"Love" is my word for the year, and God knows I need it.

I need it because things are more tumultuous than ever. There are the big things. There are wars and famine and rape and poverty and sickness. There are small things. Things that don't seem like they should matter so much, but apparently they do. There are accusations and rumors and jealousy and defensiveness and anger.

It's all driving me mad, and I'm struggling.

In 1 John 3, the author says that our hearts can be at rest in the presence of God when we love.

When I see or hear people arguing semantics and theology and ignoring the simplicity of the call to love, there is a physical reaction in me. I'm so uncomfortable with it that I feel it in my stomach. I feel the heaviness of it on my shoulders. It weighs on me and pushes down until I'm slumped over. I feel my chest get tight, and all of a sudden I realize I've been holding my breath. Nothing about these arguments and debates puts me at rest. None of it. No one ever wins. No one is at rest.

I will never convince anyone of my opinion because I speak eloquently or argue harder than the next person. I will never win anyone over to Christianity or Buddhism or Islam or whatever else I wanted to convert people to by beating them down and forcing my opinions on them. The same way a man can't force a woman to love him by raping her. 

Love is what draws people in. Love is what sets people free. Love is what makes people come alive.


{there is no fear in love. but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.}
1 John 4:18

Maybe people push their beliefs so hard because they're afraid to be wrong. They're afraid that what they say they believe right now is going to determine what happens to them forever, so they push and push, hoping that others will affirm them.

But perfect love drives out fear.

Maybe when people feel backed into a corner, they're afraid. And fear can quickly turn into anger. And anger lashes out. Anger thinks that it can force people to change, but that wouldn't be real change. It would just cause more anger and more fear.

Perfect love drives out fear.

I don't know all the reasons people fight so hard to get everyone to think like them. I just know that it breaks my heart when real humans with real, breakable hearts are pushed out of the way for the sake of a cause. When love is present, there is no reason to be afraid. There is no reason to fear judgment or criticism or anger or isolation. When love is the most important, most highly prioritized thing, all else can fade away.

I want to strive for that. More than I want to be right, more than I want to be accepted, more than I want to win people over to my side.

I want to love.