Loving people is hard. We know this. We know this when unkind words come across our screens or when neighbors blare loud music at two in the morning. We ache in this when family seems impossible or friendships unreliable.
To love isn’t easy, but it’s a necessity. It’s what we were created and called to do…even when our beings fight the want to do so.
Over the course of this month I’ve received harsh criticism and called names I would never write here. I share that not for pity but to be real in saying, loving hasn’t been easy for me this summer. Words are my bread and butter and when they show up moldy, my soul deflates and when I deflate, I don’t love well.
With that understanding the Lord has been teaching me to love in a different way. Even in the midst of unloving moments, I am still to love. And believe me when I say this, the last thing I want to do is love a leper. But Jesus says to love the leper. And with that I’ve come to learn, the moments when loving is the hardest are the moments I need to love the most. That in itself is hard. But that’s hesed love.
In Hebrew hesed is
- a deliberate choice of affection and kindness
And that is raham love. In Hebrew raham is
- to have compassion, brotherly love
It’s a choice to see beyond the hate and fear. Beyond criticism, differences and insecurities. It’s a choice to simply love when it’s not so simple because (at the risk of sounded stereotypically corny) that’s what Jesus would do.
We are so good at tearing apart and cutting each other down. We are good at making our opinions known and making sure they are the only ones that count. We are good at judging those in charge (so much so that we forget to pray for them). Speak truth, yes. But make sure it’s drowned in love.
I know I’m not always the most lovable person (which makes me incredibly thankful for grace and friends who choose love me in hesed and raham ways). Knowing that has turned my prayer time this month into a consistent asking of the Lord to teach me to love better and speak kinder. I pray that for our nation too.
This isn’t a done process, so there is no pretty bow to tie around this blog. But friends, cheers to kindness. May we love beneath the surface and be vulnerable enough to admit the moments when we don’t and seek God to teach us to do so.
Jesus, meet us.