If there is a skill that human beings have not mastered in our 200,000 years of existence it is “how-to-love.” Even with an estimate of about 4200 religions worldwide, we continue to either oppress others or fail to do the ultimate good–love in ways that uplift those with the greatest need: the perpetually poor, the drug-addicted, and the homeless ones. Let me ratchet this down to everyday relationships like estranged family members, disgruntled co-workers, and yes, the person sleeping right next to you. Without casting blame, I’ll take responsibility for the group of which I am a member–Christians. We have the key to love (we say). Our progenitor is the most renowned figure in human history, yet we have failed miserably (in my estimation) to show the kind of radical acceptance that best represents His Way. No wonder we are experiencing the ever-revolving church door, where growth escapes us. Or, perhaps yours is the door that many exit looking for something else, never to return.
There is a viable solution. If only you can examine yourself with brute honesty and realize that you don’t know how-to-love. But if you think you know how? Here’s a test. Ask the person with whom you have the most difficult relationship what its like for them to interact with you. Here’s what you. First, tell them that you are trying to be better in your relationships then say: “<Their Name,> describe your experience with me; how do I treat you?” Then, BE QUIET and listen to their response. Then, offer thanks by saying “I appreciate you for your honesty,” and walk away without justifying yourself. Finally, share in the comment section below how things went.
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For me, radical acceptance is love. But, too often, we seem to be more concerned with loving ourselves that we don’t practice loving others to the fullest extent of the word. In other words, we can’t sacrifice losing an argument, or taking the back seat, or listening more than we talk. What seems clear to me is because we love ourselves–put ourselves first–we don’t seem to have the capacity to love others radically. This begs the question “to what extent have we been taught to truly love ourselves?” I wonder then have we been taught to judge even ourselves so harshly so that we cannot exercise the grace needed to love others radically, unconditionally.
“Done-done it again” Um here to stay. This is the work of love. You gon’ have to reject it. Otherwise, give in and learn it.