It has been quite fascinating for me to start to notice recently the prevalent power of love in the life of the human heart. We don’t have to look far to see it. Turn on the radio, see the latest movie, open a random book – and you will very likely find it there. It is quite intriguing to notice that the vast majority of, even just music and poetry, is dedicated to this subject of love. What seems to be more interesting is the fact that most of the things that people write or sing on the subject, is not about the successful achievement of love, but rather about its brokenness and illusive nature.
Looking for love in the life around, you probably won’t find love itself, but you will find a passionate search for it. This seems to be something without which the human heart can seldom live. Everywhere you turn you can always see people who are searching for love in their lives. We all seem to have such a clear perception of what it is, and what it looks like, and yet perfect love always seems to be something we see everywhere except our own real lives.
What is the problem?
Here’s the picture that our culture paints – Every relationship seems so sweet and easy at first. Nevertheless sooner or later we all encounter conflict, and it splits the sweetness like a hot knife on butter. The more we see of the reality of the imperfection that fills the heart of the person we know, the less smooth and fluid the relationship becomes. Disagreements, opinions, and differences seem to rise little by little and all of a sudden that feeling of belonging and intimacy which a person was seeking after seems to vaporize and disappear and is replaced by increasing demands, pressures and responsibilities. Where did the sweetness of love run off to once again? And before we notice we are back on the search from which we started.
What is the problem? A friend of mine put it well when she said, “Love would be so much easier if only people wouldn’t be so selfish.” That really is the issue, isn’t it? We have a much harder time loving someone when we are faced with the reality of their imperfections…their humanness. In a way, that statement itself might be selfish because it is assuming that the fault is in the other person rather than in us. They are the one that has to make this relationship so complicated.
Where does one find true love? We search across oceans and climb mountains, when the reality is that the capacity for true love is right in our own hearts, buried deep under the millions of layers of selfish pride.
As the the knife of Scripture has sliced through the layers of my selfish pride over the past few years I have been constantly awakening a new life that continues to fascinate and excite me with every passing day. It changes every single aspect of my life and mind. And it is teaching me to love. I have come to see more and more that I am hopeless in this vital aspect of my life unless I am constantly being shaped by the One who invented love, the One who formed my heart, the One who desperately desires to redeem it from drowning helplessly in its own corruption.
We all have a deep and astounding capacity to love which is hijacked and captive to our own selfish heart. True love depends much less on finding the perfect person or situation, and much more on the depth of the redemptive work that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has worked in us.