A line from an old song by Rush says “The mirror always lies to the beautiful and the wise.” I think there’s some truth to that.
I’ve heard too many healthy people insist they were fat. Too many compassionate people beat themselves up for being insensitive; too many friendly people self deprecate for a perceived “rudeness” and one too many individuals claim that they weren’t worthy of love.
Well they are – worthy. You are. I am. These lies come from a variety of sources. Sometimes it’s our culture and sometimes “friends.” Sometimes it is the insidious voices in our heads, speaking as a result of the effects of depression, or low self esteem, or past rejections – real or wrongly perceived.
Worthy of love. I’m not talking about a parent’s love because that’s almost always a given. Almost. I’m saying there are lots of people out there who have sadly become convinced that they are not something another person could fall in love with. How does a person find themselves here? Again, it could be internal or external voices, but either way, shouldn’t we be counteracting any voices that convince a person they are not worthy of love?
But how do we recognize it? Look for that person in the corner – not speaking until someone forces a conversation. Better yet, take notice of the person always absent from social events. Sometimes that person is simply a happy introvert and sometimes they are an introvert because they are actively rejecting people so that people won’t have the opportunity to reject them first. If you’ve never been there, I would imagine this is hard to understand. But I believe more people have been there than we would like to admit.
So what’s the cure? Love. That’s such a hippie idea, right? But that’s it anyway. It sounds easy until we expound on it . . . just loving those like us doesn’t cut it. The Christians have to love the non-Christians. The non-Christians have to love the Christians. Whites have to love blacks, and vice-versa. This isn’t MY idea: Christ said it:
“Love your enemies.”
But he said so much more than that. It’s in Matthew 5:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?
So do we have enemies though? I think so. As far as I can tell, the world shows Muslims v. Christians, Gays v. Straights, Conservatives v. Liberals, Republicans v. Democrats, In crowd v. out crowd, pretties v. homelies, and so on, ad nauseum.
People generally meet hate with hate, and blame one another for being haters. But Christians, at least, are called, directed – maybe even commanded, to love our enemies. We are told to meet hate with love. I think we are not doing so well at this.
When I decided to go speak with the church at Selma, some people thought it odd that a conservative white guy would take such an interest in that topic. Love. When I decided to go speak with a voodoo priestess, some people thought it strange that a conservative Christian would take such an interest in such a person. Love.
Love your enemies until you have none left. It’s the “Christian” thing to do. Or least it’s supposed to be.
What if people actually did this? I submit that if this was more common, we might not have teens and adults who are convinced that they are not worthy of love. And if they are not convinced that they are NOT, they might show it to others more readily themselves, as the fear of rejection would be lessened. And then we would have a good cycle, instead of a vicious cycle. But I’m talking nonsense again, aren’t I…