Sunday, February 21, 2010

Loving other people

[I almost laughed when I looked at the title I had given this post. The idea in the title is so much bigger than anything I'm going to write or anything I could write, for that matter.]

I have a small circle of people that I would say that I "love". They're not necessarily people I like... because some of them drive me crazy. Some people I really like... but I wouldn't say that I "love" them. Maybe... maybe the small circle is of people who I would admit to loving. Or maybe the small circle is of people whom I have admitted to loving. Either way, I feel like there's a small circle of people that I "love".

Everyone else is sort of neutral. I try not to hate anyone. And if I don't like someone, I'll just sort of ignore them. The people I'm closest to hating are people who are in the small circle of people that I love.... if that makes any sense. Sometimes, I love people because the only alternative is to hate them, and I don't want to hate them. Some people, I can't feel neutral about, and can't ignore, and those people are loved and hated but mostly loved.

Then there's God. I'm not sure how I feel about Him.

We visited a friend's church this morning, I guess I really started writing this because of the sermon, and a small idea that came with it. The sermon was about loving God more than you love other people... which is hard for me. Not just because other people are more apparent, but because the only way I know how to love is by loving other people. I don't know how to love God other than the way I love other people, and I don't see how I can do that. Even if God is always with me, it still feels like a long-distance relationship (oh, oh I didn't. Yes, yes I did.) I'm sure the pastor didn't mean any harm, but he said that we need to "demote" other people so that God is our highest love. There probably isn't a difference, but I prefer to make the statement positive by saying that we need to "promote" God. Let's face it, our love is human, for other people and for God. We'll never love God as much as he loves us, but we might as well give him everything we're capable of. Just because he is our highest love doesn't mean that our love for him is as high as it could/should be. (Two lousy chess players. Michael will understand)

The other thing that I thought about came when the pastor asked, "Why should we love God the highest?" and talked about idols and how it was spiritually healthy because other loves would disappoint but God wouldn't. I guess so... but there is the whole thing about God being what he is, and inherently deserving our love. It didn't get mentioned, but maybe it didn't need to. Maybe it did... because I don't think I love God as much as I should. At the very least, I'm not sure if I love God as much as I love my small circle of people. That's really a lie, my lack of surety. I know I don't love God as much as I love my small circle of people.

But unlike the sermon I heard today, the solution isn't to love my small circle less, the solution is to love God more. To love Him as much as He deserves and as much as He loves me... which - even if it is impossible - is still right.


  1. "Or maybe the small circle is of people whom I have admitted to loving." :nods:

    "Even if God is always with me, it still feels like a long-distance relationship" Haha!

    I wonder how to love God. "Whoever has my commands and keeps them, he it is who loves me." ... "this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." But... loving God does seem like it's sometimes separate from loving people.

    Maybe missing God - or longing for God - is closer to love. Or, taking joy in Him is loving him? Part of the problem is that I don't even know what it means to love people. "What we called love down there was mostly the craving to be loved." -The great divorce.

    I do agree that the solution isn't to love people less. Hmm...

  2. Ditto, Micah.

    I often feel, or know, that I love my friends more than I love God . . . Sometimes I think, or feel, like I love God more . . . but not enough! Never enough! What rationalizes it for me is this: I love the people that I love (my friends, a small group) because of what God made. Why else would I love them? or could I? It's a constant battle, one of the hardest in life . . . to love the maker, more than what is made. It's . . . it's the only way we CAN love other people.

    Oh . . .and demoting love: ew.

    word I had to enter: intedger . . it's (almost) integer.