Loving people can be difficult. They’re just so … un-lovely at times. The offenses range from cutting ahead in a merging line of traffic to unspeakable crimes. What to do?
Perhaps an answer lies in looking at the root causes of this ugliness. At first it might seem that pride, selfishness, jealousy, and so forth drive the deeds that drive me crazy. That’s true to a degree. But if I search deeper still, something much more profound emerges.
Greed could lead a man to steal from his employer, but what led the man to greed? If one accepts the biblical account, the answer is that we are all trapped in a nature which often voluntarily makes wrong choices – sometimes extremely wrong. Our level of control over that is a matter of debate, but it’s clear that strengths and weaknesses vary by the individual and the situation.
Fully realizing that I possess the capacity to do whatever horrible act someone else has done causes me to soften a bit. Maybe turn down the judgment and turn up the mercy. As John Bradford stated upon seeing a procession of condemned prisoners, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
Should terrible behavior be tolerated by society? Not at all. Appropriate consequences for actions? Certainly. None of this, however, restricts my liberty to feel and show compassion toward a fellow human being. I’m free to love.
Awesome Post! Because God’s Mercy triumphs over judgement “In Christ Jesus” I can love my enemies…
WOW! God is Good, God is Just…God is LOVE.. By the Grace of God go I……John 3:16…
This needs to be shared over and over, well said.
Free will is a double-edged sword. We can act with compassion and a generous spirit, or we can be selfish and condemning. I know that none of these motivators are foreign to me and so I try (and sometimes fail) to animate the God-guided best that is in me. The failures humble me. The successes feel like growth on this journey of body and soul. Today, I’m grateful for the message of “Free to love.”