Monday, 6 January 2014

Love: The Answer or the Question?

How do we stop war? Poverty? Suffering? How do we put an end to discrimination and all forms of abuse? How do we stop people from taking their own life or the lives of others? These are significant questions; questions to which the answers would literally change the world.

Today as I was driving into work I spotted a bumper sticker which simply read: "Love is the Answer". It's a really nice sentiment, but sometimes nice sentiments aren't really reassuring when you're in the midst of trial and suffering.

And shouldn't love be more proactive? Why wait for all those forms of suffering to happen to only then begin loving? Shouldn't love be more proactive than that?

I think we tend to sugar coat love. We use images of a parent loving a child or the love between husband and wife - both of which are beautiful and true. Sometimes we talk about our love for sport or music. We don't often talk about how difficult love is. To quote Mother Teresa:
"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
Love isn't just love hearts and cuddles. The challenge for us, not just as Christians but as human beings, is to not let love simply be our response. The challenge is to let love be our initial stance. That's tough. It's hard to love that really annoying, talkative, really needy person. It's hard to love when you're hungry or tired. It's hard to love a complete stranger. But it's also hard to see people suffering because of selfishness, greed, jealousy and fear.

Love is a good answer, but it's a better question: where is the love?

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