“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9 NIVProverbs 17:9 (NIV)
The daily Bible readings have all been about love recently, surrounding St. Valentine’s Day and have continued into this week. Are you not fed up of talking about love? Is all this love is in the air stuff getting you down? Do you have love in your life? Is the situation you are in so bad that all the talk of love is making you vomit?
God loves us, he loves me and he loves you, the same, equally, no matter who we are or what we’ve done, he loves us. It is not the soppy red heart love of valentines, nor is it the lust-filled love of youth. It is pure love, a love of a parent for a child in the purest sense, the awe and wonder of a new parent looking at the little hands and the little feet of the baby that has been produced. God feels that each time one of us becomes a new creation he looks at us and smiles, “I created that!” He is so overjoyed when we accept his love.
For our part, the accepting of his love, in asking him to take over our entire lives, when we surrender all to him and accept that love, the endless love that is poured into us, filling us up and overflowing, not in a wasteful way like “the magic porridge pot” but in a useful way. That is the love we have to share. That love is the love that is not offended, does not become bitter, keeps a heart soft. That love is pouring from our every pore and we have to love, we can’t hate, we can’t detest, we can’t abhor, we can’t loathe. We can only be vessels of love.
I have been blessed to know someone who exudes that love, there were no words recently that could have expressed how much gratitude I had for this person and then there was a public moment and I was able to impart in a small way how appreciative of this person I was, their love was so great that offence could not be taken and not only that but they gave more.
I know in my heart that the situation will not be spoken of again, the email deleted, the conversation by phone, not overheard by anyone. The loveliest thing is I know that my story will not become a story to be shared in gossip. I am part of a community that seems to have time limits on confidentiality so that in five years time a story that was told in confidence then becomes part of the community knowledge. So this kind of confidentiality, I am grateful and appreciative of.
A relative of mine is a heroin addict, they live in England and no one around me knows them or their business. I love them from afar, the relationship is a little tense, but the love is there. Imagine my surprise when some random guy here uses my relative as a case study. Is it gossip? To me, yes, but to the rest of the audience, it was an anonymous case study.
I read extensively, other people’s blogs, books, magazines all from a Christian perspective and sometimes I think confidentiality is a forgotten skill. Again this week I was reminded of this thought as I was reviewing a secular memoir. There were some very cruelly drawn characters and the person writing it may have felt a cathartic release but at what expense? How would those characters feel portrayed as they were? Does it matter if that is indeed the totality of their personality? Yes, it does, everyone has a redeeming quality and we must focus on that.
There are some positively prickly people in my circle of friends, some mix like oil and water, but oil and water will come together in an emulsion with the addition of a little egg. Maybe that’s what we need to find a little egg yolk in everyone that can then bind us together in love. Looking at the things we have in common, the love of God, focussing on that rather than the negative forces that keep us from being bound. If we are truly living in the light of the Lord, if all we are is for his glory, love will win, every time.