“God loves what in us is not yet.
What has still to come to birth.
What we love in a person is what already is:
virtue, beauty, courage, and hence our love is self-interested and fragile.
God, loving what is not yet and putting faith in us, continually begets us since love is what begets. By giving us confidence, God helps us to be born, since love is what helps us emerge from our darkness and draws us to the light.
And this is such a fine thing to do that God invites us to do the same.”
(from Richer By Far)
I have always said, "To love is to forgive," because for me the roadblocks to my natural desire to love have been rooted in my not forgiving......not forgiving wrongs against me or others, whether they be by commission or omission. But I like Carlo Carretto's definition even better for it explains God's kind of love. He loves us unconditionally because He sees our potential. He sees what the Holy Spirit in us can do to transform us into loving others like He does.
We, on the other hand, do not approach love in this way. Instead we see what is, and then often are mistaken in what we think we see. Our own prejudices are projected onto others and we assign their actions hurtful motives without benefit of knowledge. We do this even while complaining that others do not understand us.
This is why, I believe, Jesus added "as yourself" to his statement about loving your neighbors. If you do not understand why you do the things you do, if you do not forgive yourself for your mistakes, if you practice self-punishment, then how can you begin to understand others, forgive them for their mistakes, and then not seek revenge?
The dynamics of my childhood nurtured my perfectionistic tendencies to such an extent that by the time I was in my 20s my unconscious motto was, "I don't expect anything of anyone else that I don't expect from myself." This seemed fair to me, but it led to much heartache because I put expectations on people they were not even aware of, had never agreed to, and probably were not even capable of meeting. How much happier I would have been if I'd learned to love myself as God loved me, sooner rather than later.
And this is where the body of Christ comes in.....God calls His Children to love others His way....begetting the love He created us to be. If you are indeed a child of God, born into His Love through your faith, then you are capable of loving in this way. We can't fix the ills of this world in a moment, but we can be love in each moment we have breath--love the potential in each person knowing that the work of the Holy Spirit will see it to completion--one person at a time. This is how God molds us and others into becoming who He created us to be.
Father, sometimes I take on the burden of the world and allow myself to fall into despair and do nothing. I forget I am just one of many You can use to make a difference right where I am. Thank you for loving me anyway.
Link to scripture: Isaiah 64:8