My kids have me enrolled in this intensive course on what love is--and is not. Yesterday, I wrote about my discovery that love is not about making people happy. Now for Lesson #2...
Love ain't blind.
As a parent it has been bizarre and holy to experience what it's like to love a creature who is doing nothing for you. Especially those first few months, the child's contributions to your life are limited to exhaustion, noise pollution and caca. But you love her like you've never loved before.
I think love sees all the weaknesses in the beloved, but loves anyway. Liking is reasonable. Loving is unreasonable. I like you because [fill in wonderful stuff you have to offer]. I love you despite [fill in the dirty laundry scattered over the skeletons in your closet].
Even before my kids taught me this, I had an inkling of it because of God, who is love and is anything but blind. God's knowledge of me is beautiful and terrifying. And his love is beyond reason.
“The LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” (1 Chronicles 28:9)
"O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD." (Psalm 139:1-4)
My response to this intimate knowledge ranges from "Woo hoo!" to "Yikes." But whatever my response, it's pretty clear that our weaknesses are obvious to God. Love ain’t blind.
- “Love is patient, love is kind”—but if I could not see my children's weaknesses I wouldn’t need patience or kindness. I’d be blissfully ignorant.
- “Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs”—not because it fails to see them, but because it does not cling to them, because it sees so much more.
- “Love does not rejoice in evil, but rejoices in the truth”—and the truth is, we are all broken. The truth is, we hurt each other. I fail to listen. You neglect respect. We goof up. Daily. The thing with love is that we do not delight in these evils. We find no joy in scrutinizing the errors of our beloved. God, I’m convinced, does not get a kick out of being right about the fact that we do wrong.
Love would be easier if it were blind to evil. But since it's not, love must carefully chooses its focus: the common ground, the cup that is half-full, the baby steps of growth of the spirit rather than all the flaws and immaturities that still remain.
I walk around my house and I can count the messes or celebrate the neat places. In my kitchen I can whine about the dirty pots and pans in the sink or dig the smell of the homemade dinner. I can catch my kids doing wrong, or catch them being good. I can tally what is still missing in my students, or count the blessings they add to the world.Where do my eyes of love focus when I look at my children, my wife, at myself?