In this summer’s Gather Bible study, author Angela Shannon writes, “…if we are to achieve the grand vision of unity in Christ Jesus, we must see each other as children of God…perfect love casts out fear, and who is God? LOVE.”
We all know we are supposed to love one another, but it’s hard sometimes.
For instance, the other day I was walking my dog, and as we went to cross the street, a car came barreling around the corner — almost running both of us over. Then the driver made an obscene gesture at me.
Really, God? You want me to love her?
I haven’t quite yet figured out how to love in these situations. I’m working on it. But I think the first step is admitting that I’ve probably been some version of that lady more often than I’d like to admit.
Lutherans know we are all simultaneously sinner and saint, just as capable of doing loving acts as we are of doing unloving ones.
[bctt tweet=”We all know we are supposed to love one another, but it’s hard sometimes.”]
When I was a first-generation college student living away from home for the first time, I had a tough transition to life on campus. I was intimidated by my professors and often felt out place with my classmates. My loneliness manifested itself in anger more often than I’d like to admit.
But in my first semester, I took a video class with a teaching assistant named Ren Flagg.
Though I was just as cranky and miserable in his class as any other, he gave me the nickname, “Qué Será Será.” When I passed him in the hallways, he’d sing, “Qué será será; whatever will be, will be.”
If I got upset about something, he’d sit me down and tell me to breathe — in through my nose and out through my mouth, deep from my diaphragm.
On one particularly bad day, I remember running across campus in tears to find Ren in the university television studio. When he saw me weeping, he didn’t ask any questions. He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me until I was through.
[bctt tweet=”I gave Ren no reason to love me. . . . But he loved me anyway. Without question.”]
I gave Ren no reason to love me. In fact, I sometimes was a complete jerk. But he loved me anyway. Without question.
Which is why I thank God for putting Ren in my life — not only because he loved me when I needed it most, but because he showed me how to love.
So when I find myself trying to love someone who has treated me poorly, when love feels downright impossible, I think of Ren, and I know it can be done.
Sarah Carson is associate editor of Gather magazine.
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