That’s OK, I love you anyway


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By Bobby Neal Winters

Christianity is a religion of love. Or at least it ought to be. If you read the Book, that is to say, the Bible, you keep running into love everywhere. “Love you’re your neighbor as yourself,” “God is love,” and “Greater love hath no man than this, to give his life for a friend.” It is everywhere; it is inescapable. We’re even to take it to the absurdity of loving our enemies. How bizarre.

This is all well and good, but sometimes things get a little twisted. We are creatures that need reasons for doing the things we do, and we need to have reasons for all this love going on. Why should I love my neighbor? Why should all this love be abounding all around? In absence of the right reason, people come up with their own, and somehow the idea has gotten out that we should love each other because we are all perfect just the way God made us.

This is quite an appealing notion, actually. “I’m OK, Your OK,” after all. That is what we’ve been taught, isn’t it? Didn’t Jesus say it originally?

Those who have a keen sarcasm-sensing organ—it is located between the ears and behind the eyes—may have already discerned that I have some problems with this idea. I believe that we should have problems with ideas that are obviously false.

Nobody is perfect. This is a cliché, but clichés often become clichés because they are true. Out there, somewhere in the world of ideas, is the perfect human being. It has two eyes, a nose, two kidneys, and the heart just slightly to the left of center in the chest. And this perfect human being is nowhere realized in the flesh. Physicians will tell you that everybody is a little different; everybody has a little something wrong with them. They see this in medical school when they dissect cadavers. There are all sorts of asymmetries and extra parts.

My family learned of this firsthand with our second child. She was always having problems with urinary tract infections, and we discovered that it was because she had extra parts to one of her kidneys. These extra parts were providing an environment where infections could start. Medical science being at the stage that it is now, we were able to have those extra parts removed, and the infections stopped.

This takes us into territory that can be quite dangerous, depending upon your theology and your view of God. With these obvious flaws that anybody can see, are we saying that God makes mistakes?

One need not go that far. In the Christian tradition, we are told that we live in a fallen world; and I interpret these imperfections as part of the fallen-ness.

This brings us to the greatest reason to be against the idea that we should love one another because we are perfect just the way God made us. Since nobody is perfect, it would follow that we don’t have to love anybody. While it is easy to hold in the abstract that we are all perfect creations of God, it is rather harder to do this when confronted with actual people. People are annoying, self-centered louts. They think about their own concerns all the time and hardly care at all about mine. How supremely unlovable they are. How unreasonable it is for God to expect me to love them.

So why should I love my neighbor, much less my enemy?
The first reason, which should be sufficient, I will pass over quickly so as to avoid being stoned. It is this, “God told us to, and we are to be obedient to him.” As we are living in an age that does not believe in authority even from God, this carries no weight. No one will do anything just because he is told to.

The lie that we are all perfect just the way God made us is dangerous because is treads so close to the truth. While we are not perfect, we are made in the image of God, but we are fallen from that image. The lowliest, most despicable, most imperfect human is still God’s image. If we do not love God’s image, how can we possibly love God? It makes no sense. And there is more. When we love, we are actually God’s instruments for conveying His love. I think to be an instrument of God is a very good reason to do something, indeed.

You’re not perfect. Sorry to break it to you, but that’s OK, I love you anyway. Or I’ll try to, at least, because I’m not perfect either.
I like the way you worked that towards the end. Very nice. Have you ever considered becoming a writer? ;)
The Fool said:
I like the way you worked that towards the end. Very nice. Have you ever considered becoming a writer? ;)

perhaps my sarcasm detection device isn't working properly... but... you do see that link in his signature block... right????

I think you need to check your SDD - the winking smilie gives my joking tone away there. :)