Love is over-rated.
It is a panacea of promises often deteriorating into a garbage can stuffed with disappointment.Although it is pure in its intentions, it is tainted by the greedy and the needy, who unwittingly pervert its purposes. For after all, the Southern plantation owner loved his family and his state, whistling Dixie while simultaneously abusing a race of people. Adolph Hitler proclaimed his love for Germany while murdering its inhabitants. The early American settlers loved their freedom and the prospects of new land, as they rolled their wagons over the dreams of the Native Americans. Then we have the concept that it is possible–supposedly–to love the sinner while hating the sin. And finally, is there any adult who has abused a child who doesn’t perpetuate the myth of undying love for his or her offspring? Love is a tattered emotional blanket that we throw across a frigid humanity, self-satisfied that everyone is now warm.
Yet we know the Bible says that God is love, so why is our love so different from God‘s? What does God possess in His implementation of love that is so separate from our meager efforts?
God likes people. We don’t. Simple.
Yes, God likes people. What a magnificent word–like.. Mainly because it has two immediate applications: like–as in having affection, and like–as in perceiving a connection.
- “I like you.” In other words, I have taken the time to find reasons to be favorable to your continued existence as a person.
- “I am like you.” I have taken an equal space of my attention span to discover ways that you and I are similar instead of focusing on our differences.
There are also two reasons our love is tainted.
1. We believe that everybody is different. If everybody is different, we can’t find enough in each other that is like us to cause us to like one another. God rejected this concept. Matter of fact, the Bible makes two things clear–“God is no respecter of persons” and “God so loved the world.” Do you see it? He thinks we’re so much alike that He refers to us as “the world.”
2. Our love is ineffective because of our ongoing contention that we were “born” some way. It is the universal copout that keeps us from dealing with who we are and allowing ourselves the possibility of being born again.
So if I’m different from you, I can love you in the abstract and not like you in the present. And if I was born this way, all of my actions can be excused by my genetic fallibility. Somewhere along the line, we need to learn how to like one another. Like is the kindness and gentleness that props up the concept of love. Like is the willingness to adapt to the needs of others, even when our present thinking may be contrary to theirs. Like is considering the value of another person instead of contemplating how easy it would to function without them. Like is when we abandon the importance of our cause for the primary mission of respecting and honoring the human race.
We heard a talk show host this week call a young woman he had never met a “slut” and a “prostitute.” He did it because he loves America. He did it because he loves the tenets of his movement. He did it because he loves truth enough to call an ace an ace, a spade a spade and obviously, a whore a whore. What he said was, in his own mind, rooted in the concept of love. But because his statement lacked tenderness, humanity, concern, awareness or even vulnerability, it left his rendition of love empty of virtue.
I will tell you this–Jesus would not appear to be loving if he had just quoted scriptures or taught on the subject. I am a follower of Jesus because he had compassion, he was moved by people’s faith and he put children on his knee and embraced them, defending them against overly zealous grown-ups.
Jesus liked people. If Jesus hadn’t like people, not only would he be useless to us, but honestly, he wouldn’t be Jesus. So neither am I a Christian–a follower of Jesus–when I superficially place love in a position of predominance and deny my fellow human beings the opportunity to be liked by me.
My principle is very simple: it’s “like or hike.”
Plainly, if I can’t like someone, I’m going to give them the great gift of getting out of their way and allow them the freedom to pursue their dreams without my allegedly loving intervention.I am not going to sit around and question whether I agree with people, but rather, whether I can be of any use to them, encouragement to them, or edification to them. Can I offer them a good bathing in my likability?
Love will become a powerful word again and a universal energy when we insert “like” back into our vocabulary and actions. Like is when I have affection that admits I have a connection.
- I am not black, but I know what it’s like for people to have prejudice against me.
- I am not Hispanic, but I know what it’s like to be treated like an alien instead of welcomed like a new settler.
- I am not gay, but I know what it’s like to be spied on and viewed unfavorably.
- I am not a woman but I certainly know what it’s like to be treated with inequality.
If you’re not going to like someone, get the hell out of the way, because you can bring no heaven to them.
Let’s give love a chance. Let’s start by liking one another.
Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.
I died today.
I didn’t expect it to happen. Then again, I did—well, not really.
No, I certainly didn’t expect it.
I’ve had moments of clarity in my life. Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer. And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying. Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all?
Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.
The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn.
The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had. TIME.
Time is fussy. Time is worry.
Time is fear. Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity.
There just was never enough time.
Time would not allow it. Remember—“if time permits …”
Why if time permits? Why not if I permit? Why not if I dream? Why not if I want? Why does time get to dictate to me my passage?
It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature. It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed.
I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.
So why don’t we see the farce of time? Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot? Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.
I died today.
Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.