Strange Mercy

"... and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

Location: Mid-Atlantic Sprawl, United States

I'm a former idealist turned 'defensive pessimist' who has concluded, after living on two coasts, two continents, and an island, that most of us spend our lives as prey, economically and psychologically. Awareness is the key to understanding this; but once we understand it, we may transcend it, choosing, when we can, to be neither prey nor predator.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Law of Love

The hightest spiritual law is the Law of Love.

This Law arises from a conviction that God's primary wish for us is that we be free, and then, out of that freedom, that we choose to devote ourselves to Him.

If we do this out of freedom, then we soon discover that love means something different than we might at first have thought, and freedom does as well.

Freedom is constrained by love.

If I love my neighbors, then I don't want to cut in front of them in the checkout line, or on the freeway.

If I love my animal, then I don't ignore its pain, and I structure my time so that I am available to express my love to my pet, and I welcome and rejoice in my pet expressing love to me.

If I love my superiors and coworkers, then I do my job to the best of my ability and with a whole heart, insofar as is possible; I don't undermine anyone, nor do I 'skive off'.

If I love my spouse, I don't cheat on him, but neither do I snipe at him, or kick him when he's down.

If I love my children, I care for them appropriately - I don't use them to compete with neighbors and family, I don't push them to be something I wanted to be that they may not, I don't martyr myself to them and guilt them over it for life - I see them as separate people, given to me to tend and nurture, and I do my daily best at that...

Thus I end up living a very much examined, moral and ethical life, not driven by rules, or by God as a Big Policeman In The Sky, but by God as Love, with love being a lot stronger and grittier than we often think.

And I am still entirely free.

It's the freedom of a grownup, rather than a child: freedom with awareness and perspective, and a sense of responsibility. Freedom not only to make a choice, but to understand and live with all of the ramifications of that choice, once made.

I'm nowhere near perfect at this, not even halfway reliable at it. But I do see it fairly clearly:

" Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." [Mat. 22:37-40]


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