THE HUMAN heart is an amazing thing. When mature and selfless, it will watch its own body thirst, suffer, wither and die a certifiably gruesome death for the sake of another person. Without a second thought, it will euthanatize its own host to save another soul it does not even know. And more than this, the human heart will set itself aside, hushed and stilled, if it is the only way to love another more fully. The human heart is the most beautiful thing on earth, and its beauty is most profound in the fact that, for the sake of another, it is willing to consider itself to be nothing. This ability and willingness grants it the capability for an unutterable depth so great that only uncontrollable, wracking tears of sorrow or joy can whisper its most impassioned moans. A loving heart is the only meaningful measure of a person, and is perhaps the one human thing of which God is most proud.
And yet, for all of its unquestionable glory, the heart must eventually concede that everything best within it is only a hearkening, only a shadow of its source. All that is best in man and can uniquely be claimed by man, at its core is not even his own. As brightly as it may shine in his life, it is only a glimmer, a reflection really, of that from whence it came.
TO BE made in the image of God is to be created with the capacity for a boundless and limitless Love whose power is immeasurable. It is the Love that gave birth to the human heart, but it is also the Love that rightly judges, hushes, and stills even that heart.
It is a Love that abolishes all boundaries of society and culture and person. It is a Love that demonstrates victory over all perceived defeats. It is a Love that opposes all my personal selfishness and condemns it as the weakness in the world. It is a Love that convicts me and makes me know I am the source of hatred in the world. It is a Love that can cure my hatred and therefore can cure the hatred of the world. It is a Love that demonstrates itself in the universal equalizers of human joy, suffering, birth and death. It is a Love whose presence explains all of life’s glories and whose absence explains all of life’s horrors. It is the ultimate indicator of true failure and success, for when I live by Love I have succeeded and when I do not live by this Love I have failed. The measure of my success or failure in life is directly proportional to the purity or impurity of my Love.
My sin is the enemy of Love in my life. It does not want to look at Love and it does everything it can to keep me from looking. When I desire to be correct for the sake of my own ego, my own pride, and my own emotional satisfaction, I have chosen to look away from Love. When I have taken my eyes off of what Love can do, will do, is doing, I have rejected the reality of Love. When I reject the enormity and completeness of Love, when I believe it is not big enough, not willing enough, or not capable enough, I have declared it a lie—and since I am made in its image I have declared myself a lie.
IF I WANT to know God, if I want to understand fully the message of Jesus, if I want to fulfill my purpose, if I want to live according to my true nature, if I want to live according to what I have in common with all men, if I want to be a positive force in the lives of those around me, if I want to see the world a better place because my footsteps once stepped upon its face, I must be willing to become this Love. I must be willing to become a Love that will still burn brightly and bravely when I have long since left this earth. I must be willing to become a Love that will still believe in itself, still be active, and still love in return, when even the people most dear to me hurl insults at me and turn away to leave me standing alone. I must be willing to become a Love so large, so boundless and strong and brave, that I am willing to die completely alone and hated among men if Love requests it of me. I must be willing to become a Love that knows no discriminator, casts no judgment, and sees not the sins of others. I must be willing to become a love that leaves no trace of pride, no tinge of ego, and no hint of selfishness within me. I must be willing to become a Love that does not and cannot recognize the false person the world has made me, nor the false people the world tries to show me. I must be willing to become a Love that sees with God’s eyes, touches with God’s hands, cradles with God’s arms, and loves with God’s heart. This is the Love that will kill me, and this is the Love that will give me life.
This is the Love that grows without limit within me and as it grows I see life more clearly and as I see life more clearly I realize that I see it as though in a mirror dimly. The more my insight and understanding grow in the light of this Love the more I know my understanding is feeble and minuscule and dark and I have barely dipped the fingers of my soul into the surface of an infinite ocean. This is the ocean of God’s Love that calls to me and beckons that I submerge myself into its depths and drown within it and dissolve until my atoms are indistinguishable from its atoms and until my spirit is indistinguishable from the one true spirit of God that cries out to all men.
I must become a Love that speaks when it needs to speak, is silent when it needs to be silent, is strong when it needs to be strong, and is weak when it needs to be weak. I must become a Love that others call heroic when my false humility hates being called heroic. I must become a Love that others call cowardice when my pride and ego hate being called a coward. I must become a Love that will stand and fight, and I must become a Love that will turn and walk away. I must become a Love that laughs in joy and cries in sorrow and knows no difference between the two. I must become a Love that separates me from every man, and a Love that joins me to every man, and knows there is no difference between the two. I must become a Love that lives for its own sake, and dies for its own sake, and knows there is no difference between the two. I must cease to exist, and live only as a Love that embraces mankind like the common air we breathe.
I must be willing to possess a Love that has the restraint to remain silent when others call it fanatical, criminal, apathetic, lazy, aloof, cowardly, or uncaring. I must be willing to possess a Love that has the courage to believe they are mistaken, and the humility to suspect they may be right. I must be willing to possess a Love that has no will of its own except the will that is its own, which is to do nothing but to continue loving no matter what. I must be willing to possess a Love that has the courage to stand steadfast in a place my mind would rather not be, and the courage to walk away from the one place my heart most desires. I must be willing to possess a Love that kindly stares into my soul with unmoving resolve and says that if I want to know God, I must die.
When I become this love, I will finally know who and what I am.