We often have visions of bliss when we think about love but the truth is practicing love is not easy. While there are many facets, here are three reasons why practicing love is challenging:
1. Love is countercultural.
There is a stark contrast between God’s view of love and the world’s view. The me-first, self-centeredness of the world is not often self-sacrificing and too often unkind. Today’s “cancel” culture rarely promotes acceptance, forgiveness or reconciliation and is far too often dismissive, judgmental and divisive. Pride takes center stage and sidelines humility. Riddled with fear and anxiety, we are struggling to embody peace. No wonder we feel empty when negativity surrounds us. Though we are people of faith, the truth is the way we love often looks more cultural than spiritual. The world’s way does not produce life and joy. There is a more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31).
2. Love is interdependent.
Practicing love is a personal commitment, but it’s playground is community. No human is an island; practicing God’s love involves other people. Our spiritual path involves others not necessarily all of our choosing but also the ones God sends. We are inextricably tied one to another.
3. Love is redemptive.
Love meets us where we are, but by it’s very nature does not leave us the same. Love traffics in healing, growth and transformation. Love beckons us to become. Its goal is sanctification; our becoming more like Christ.
What a beautifully powerful reminder from Cynthia Bourgeault! Practicing love demonstrates a willingness “to take up the burden of the much more difficult task” of being “present to your life in love” and in so doing you become a person that “is walking the path of Jesus.” May we endeavor to put on the mind of Christ, have our hearts renewed and follow in His footsteps.