Tuesday, May 29, 2012
LOVE-The Greatest Thing
"I tell you the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." Vincent van Gogh
I've been thinking lately about what it means to truly love. I think the opposite of love is judgment; the bad kind that is critical, proud, and not done in order to help another person. I guess that could be called hate. It's more about tearing that person down in order to built yourself up, although I think there are many motives for being judgmental. I know sometimes I don't even realize I'm being that way until someone points it out to me.
There's a good kind of judgment that everyone takes part in every day. You decide which kind of shampoo to buy or someone performs an action that isn't good and you decide to talk to them about it. We do this thousands of times a day. We couldn't live any other way. I'm not talking about this kind but the destructive kind.
I'm watching two of my friends right now play this 'bad judgment' game. Actually, one is playing it and the other is trying to be likable to the judgmental one. It's painful to watch, because I used to be pretty judgmental myself. Not vitriolic but not kind either. I didn't like this about myself, so I started praying to God, the author of perfect love, to change this about me, and slowly over the years I've become able to love the unlovely.
It hurts me to see a friend being abused by hateful judgments against her, because I love her and don't want her to get hurt. But also because I see myself as a harsh judge and wonder how many people in my past (and probably present) I've left bleeding on the side of the road from the trainwreck that is my tongue.
I think the first time I acknowledged my judgmental attitude was when I was about 21 years old. We were newlyweds and friends with another recently married couple. We lived on the same street, went to the same church, and hung out together. But she drove me crazy with some of her mannerisms! They weren't wrong; just got on my nerves big time. I began praying that I would love her in spite of those things, and God not only did that...those things actually stopped bothering me at all or I just started finding them amusing. I never could have done that on my own.
And look at the effects of being judged in an unloving way. We all know how that makes you feel. And does it accomplish anything good? Does it bring about change for the better? No and no.
Contrast that with what love does. It draws you in and causes you to desire change; maybe not immediately but at least a crack may occur in the heart. Have you ever been around anyone that just exudes love and acceptance? I have and it draws me in like a magnet would metal. I want to be with them and I want to be like them. Only true, Christian love will change the world for the better.