There are so many interpretations of love among people.The one that seems to be behind your saying is the one that says… We must love people, that is, want what is best for them, have a good will toward them, but you don't necessarily have to want to be with them, or put up with them. This is where many a marriage ends up, and many a congregation. This is the love that can be commanded and, once we've hedged the commandment with escape clauses, we're free to follow the "commandment."Though there are many kinds of love among us, the Word of God is the only teacher of what love is. How we apply it depends on how much we want to see.For me, just to look, really look, at another human being, or even a fellow creature, without thinking, without measuring, analyzing, just looking, for me love comes to the surface quickly. I want to know the person I am looking at, and spontaneously I want to love them. Freedom intervenes to set the limits. Does the other person want to be loved, or is it an intrusion? Do I want to activate the love which naturally rises in me, or will I let it die, look the other way, because I realise there will be a price to pay?I hold myself "ready to love" others, because Jesus may come to me in the guise of my brother or sister. I do not fret over whether I should or must love my neighbor in an active way. I just love the one who is put before me this moment. If love requires action beyond that point, I try to do whatever love demands.The aftertaste of love is prayer, specifically intercession.Mother Gavrilia says, "Love does not get tired." I know what she means. When I was loving the brother whom God placed before Brock and me last Saturday, it didn't matter to me that I had to stay with him the whole day, eating little, taking no rest, just making sure he was fed, that he would stay awake (we were all up many hours that day!), that he had somewhere to go while waiting for his bus connexion. I just wasn't tired. I could've stayed up all night with him, because I was loving him.Love just doesn't get tired.
That reminds me of one of my favorite Dorothy Day quotes:It is not love in the abstract that counts. Men have loved a cause as they have loved a woman. They have loved the brotherhood, the workers, the poor, the oppressed - but they have not loved man; they have not loved the least of these. They have not loved “personally.” It is hard to love. It is the hardest thing in the world, naturally speaking. Have you ever read Tolstoy’s Resurrection? He tells of political prisoners in a long prison train, enduring chains and persecution for the love of their brothers, ignoring those same brothers on the long trek to Siberia. It is never the brothers right next to us, but the brothers in the abstract that are easy to love.
Just wanted to add a postscript to my first comment. Have you ever noticed how John 3:16 (the often quoted scripture) and 1 John 3:16 really go together, and how the 3:16 in John's first letter is really a completion and commentary of the 3:16 in John's gospel?
I'm trying to connect setting limits on love with liking someone. The only thing I can come up with is that we should leave open the possiblity that we will like the object of our Christian love. If I just scan your post I walk away thinking that love is a commitment of will as much as it's an affection.
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