What does love require of me?
This clarifying, but terrifying question should stand guard over our consciences. It should serve as a guide, signpost and compass as we navigate the unavoidable complexities inherent in every relationship. It should inform how we date, parent boss, manage, coach, obey parents and so forth. It should form a perimeter around what we say and do in our roles as parents, children, spouses, coworkers and neighbors.
The question gives voice to God’s will for us on issues where the Bible, as well as all other religious literature, is silent. It fills gaps with disquieting precision. It succeeds where concordances fail. It quashes the insipid justification that goes like this: “But the Bible doesn’t say there is anything wrong with ______”. It closes loopholes. It exposes hypocrisy. It stands as judge and jury. It is so simple. But it is so inescapably demanding.
Our final question, fueled and informed by Jesus’s “as I have loved you” command, intersects with every imaginable relational scenario. We are all tempted at times to ask or wonder how little we can get by with relationally – the very very thing we don’t want the person on the other side of us to consider. This question calls to account. When presenting this concept publicly, I often ask the audience to commit the following to memory.
When unsure of what to say or do, ask what love requires of you.
We don’t need chapter and verse. We have something better. Namely, Jesus’ new all-encompassing simple command. We are to do to others as our Father in heaven, through Christ Jesus has done unto us. He did what was best for us. We in turn are to do the same to others.
Love fills the gaps. Love reduces the friction created by our limited insight, knowledge and experiences. There are things I will never understand. But my ignorance does not not impede my capacity to put others first.
So while I am not always sure what to believe, and while my views on a variety of things continue to mature and change, I almost always know what love requires of me.
I bet you do too. Let’s extend this to the vulnerable children, children, orphans and widows too
Love one another