After struggling with this difficult question (not the title) for scores of years, I think I finally made a breakthrough with an answer while playing the piano just now for a quiet devotional. There is always politics and conflict when there is something of great value being contended for or great stakes, yet being located at the heart of (deep) politics, you can be non-political. In an absolute way. Yes. There is a way. I don’t mean to say you are not going to be take sides. Or you’re not going to fight. But your motivation will be different. Some years ago I watched a korean tv drama whose plot and storyline resonated with me; it’s on youtube and called The Rooftop Prince. It has humourous overtones but the real plot is much more serious and interweaves between the present and the past. Though the ending was heartbreaking, I found it a good resolution which was for a good end. In summary, it was kind of bittersweet. Tells us that there is a price to pay if we want to do good; especially if we want to do good. For the price of peace, there is always great sacrifice.
People often think love is just a warm and fuzzy feeling and an absolute acceptance of all things, whether they be good or bad, pure and sinful. But I think people who have truly loved know that this is not so. The world carries on its age-old hoax that as long as there is world peace and unconditional acceptance of each others’ sins and flaws, life is beautiful. It is no wonder when we speak of equity, justice, loyalty, friendship, protecting others, sacrifice, and even honest rebuke we find our weight and definition of love superfluous, and perhaps even supercilious at best. Because we know that that kind of love doesn’t seem to measure up when justice is demanded for, or when one chooses to die for a friend in war.
Scripture defines love in 1 Corinthians ch. 13; to save time I will not quote it here. The more I read the bible with its many statutes and precepts, laws and ordinances, cases, charges, wars, and many judgments of God in the old testament, reiteration rather than the abolishment of the ten commandments of God in the new testament I realise that the heart of the biblical message is one of love. There are shadows and prefigurations in the old testament, then there is Christian love in full maturity expounded fully in the new testament times. Does that mean that the people of God did not know love in the biblical times? It is not so; this is far from the truth. But the old testament puts the stories in a much more pictorial rather than verbal way of expression as compared to the new testament. Yet it is one and the same, the love of God towards man has never changed.
A few posts back I pondered if wisdom and kindness were mutually exclusive and whether one needs to exceed the other in order for either to take effect in reality. I won’t answer this directly here but I think i can see the answer in a more pictorial way.
One struggles to reconcile virtues and principles with one another while things are yet to be perfected in him. How many times should I forgive someone who hurts me repeatedly? Should i forgive someone before he or she repents or asks for forgiveness? Who is my neighbour that I should love him in order to fulfil the commandments of God, the summary of which is to love God and love man? What constitutes loving my enemies? Is forgiveness for my own sake letting go or releasing that person from his guilt? Can I put my career first and still qualify as being godly? Can I not take sides when my faith is challenged? Can i have a life of peace and not defend the gospel when my faith is persecuted or compromised? Can i tell white lies to save myself from difficult situations? What is truth? –these are the questions that often arise and we start haggling over the finer points of what constitutes the obedience and submission to God’s will and what doesn’t. These are important in our walk of faith because it is the process we have to navigate through while we are being moulded and shaped into a vessel for God. But there is a time when such questions wouldn’t matter. Because in the fullness of His love one finds all the answers to these questions. There is psalm i love which marries all the different aspects and virtues, to me, a perfect consummation leading to a perfect knowledge of God, for God is love:
Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Yes, the Lord will give what is good;
And our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before Him,
And shall make His footsteps our pathway.
So whether one is afraid she might become a doormat through considering others’ well-being better than her own, or is time and again being used while being kind is not the crux of the matter. If one truly loves, then he or she would be used even though it might hurt, wouldn’t mind being a willing doormat, would exhibit wisdom in her love for others and be defined by it, would in effect go the ends of the earth for the One whom she loves. I can’t place this in a better way, this summarises what I think is the answer to the question. Against such things there is no law, for love fulfils the law.
Everyone knows what is the right thing to do, even children. But while we were still young and immature, we were unable to do it. While we had struggles we were unwilling to do it. We did not have the love for God and also men. But not so for a mature Christian, and we should all aim to be that. Love emboldens us to take up arms to protect those we love.