I’m going to do something different today. You’d expect me to wax lovingly about my husband and happy married life on Valentine’s Day, because that’s the trend. I’m not going to do that, though, because today I want to talk about a different kind of love and why now, of all times, it’s so important.
Yesterday I was tangentially involved in the Catholics Vs. Obama discussion on Facebook. As a libertarian I have strong feelings on the issue. As a Christian I have strong feelings on the issue. As a woman I have strong feelings on the issue. As a matter of fact, this being an election year, there are many issues about which I have strong feelings. Thanks to the Internet I have a 24/7 platform upon which I can air those strong feelings to my heart’s content.
And there is the problem. Over the years I’ve realised that those arguments do not a content heart make.
Yesterday I watched while friends on various sides of the issue debated their relative points and yet again I saw the most openly Christian of my friends be the least loving and kind of almost all of them. It reminded me of all the times I was so sure of my rightness I forgot righteousness.
There’s a Bible verse that says we shouldn’t cast our pearls before swine, and I hesitate to reference it because it sounds as though I’m saying all the people I disagree with are the swine, and that just isn’t the case. In these heated discussions it’s become very de rigeur for Christians to take the pearls of their testimony, that great gift of love and grace, and toss them away to be covered in the mud and feces of anger, argument and cruelty. The swine are within our own hearts and minds, really. We greedily plow into the trough of debate and snort and bite and chew without regard to good taste or manners.
It’s not that I think we should stay out of things or not voice our opinion. Faith doesn’t preclude reason, despite what some may tell you. As Christians, however, I think it’s most important that we be Christians first, that we answer to the Great Commission first and that we realise we are the light and salt.
I forget this a lot, because I still have that tempestuous hot head and strident assurance of my own right-thinking. I have a little note by my computer that says PYT, and anyone who walked by would think I mean that I think I’m a pretty young thing. It actually stands for Preserve Your Testimony and that’s what I try to do. (Try. I really drop the ball on occasion, to my shame.)
I’m talking about all this now because it’s Valentine’s Day and that’s a day when everyone is focused on love. In this year of anger and strife I’d rejoice to see those of us who have taken up the cross daily bring the focus on love to all our interactions. Maybe then there would be more content hearts and some actual balm in Gilead.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.