Understand The True Depth of Love

Date: October 21, 2022

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7

“I can’t love people in slices,” says King Arthur in Camelot, “I take the good with the bad.”  Maybe that’s why King Arthur presided successfully over a vast array of knights and we seem to preside over the dissolution of relationships gone bad.  Can we love people in slices, choosing what we like, rejecting what we dislike?  There’s a problem with that philosophy—nobody, myself included, is completely lovable.  In every person there is a diversity of attitudes, habits, and mannerisms—some of which are wonderful, and some of which must surely be annoying to the most holy saints.

So we tend to divide people into two hemispheres:  the lovable half, and the not-so-lovable half.  Like the beads on an abacus, we tend to shuffle the traits and characteristics until there definitely are too many on the not-so-lovable half which we often don’t even like.  That’s when we move into rejection mode, and forget that we ever loved the person at all.

To be very honest with you, this talk about “loving” and “being loved” gets pretty philosophical and nebulous.  When you mention the word love, just what are you talking about?  A boy says, “I love peanut butter.”  His older brother says, “I love the girl who moved across the street from us,” and his father says, “I’d love to be the president of my company.”  Is love an emotion, a feeling, a position whereby you control a situation? Or what?  When you think you’ve got it nailed down, it slips and slides away from you, right?

Love is more than a warm feeling, it is commitment to care, a decision of the heart which should have nothing to do with the temperature of your feelings.  Whenever I stand before the marriage altar and turn to a bride and groom–stars in their eyes, sweaty palms, and palpitating hearts—and lead them in their vows to love and to honor in good times and bad times, in sickness and in health, till death shall separate them, I always ask myself, “Do they really know what they are vowing?”

We love someone in slices, to use Sir Arthur’s term, when we reject someone because there are things in the life of the person which we don’t like.  Is love blind?  Should we ignore wrongdoing and blindly overlook that which we dislike?  Let me put it like this.  Loving someone—I mean genuinely loving the person—means accepting that individual as he or she is, not blindly denying the flaws but realizing that God alone, not nagging, or coaxing, is going to make the person into the individual you would like him or her to be.

“Stop,” you may be thinking, “it’s easier to love people in slices than to try to swallow the whole apple of love,” right?”  Whenever I ponder the difficulty of what I’m advocating—and who would deny that it is difficult –I think of the way God loves us.  In slices?  No!  He takes us as we are with all that is wrong, with all that needs healing and help.  He never says, “Get it all together, and then I will I love you.”  He also tells us that when we really love, we do the same thing.  Ponder these words which came from Paul’s pen to the Romans.  He wrote, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7).  It’s tough accepting someone in slices, because people—no matter what they are like—come in wholes.

“I can’t love people in slices.  I take the good with the bad,” said King Arthur.  It’s the only way to go. That’s how God loves you, just as you are. He accepts you as you are and He will make you what He wants you to be.

Resource reading: Romans 15:1-8.