I have been thinking. We are commanded to love our neighbor.
What if I do not love my neighbor?
Well, then. I must choose to love anyway.
I must purposefully,
intentionally choose actions that will demonstrate love toward my neighbor. Sometimes, this will come at great cost to myself, either in the form of time, money, or pride. If time or money, do not worry. Neither our time nor our money is our own. If it is our pride that will be lost when love is demanded...praise be to our Lord and Savior. "We know our blessings by their cost" (Wendell Berry). To lose one's pride is surely blessing.
But listen. I have heard an excuse, as of late. "How can I love someone I do not love? How can I change what I see or how I see it? I cannot, for I cannot change what I feel." I've heard the excuse, but I've also been reading about virtue and the cultivation of virtuous action. I have been in some of the best educational systems my whole academic career, and yet the idea that courage and love are things to be practiced, not merely bestowed, was shocking. If a person must strive to be courageous, is he less honorable and more in sin than another man? Less honorable because, "well, the fact that he had to work for it means he didn't have it in the first place" and more sinful because, "he is trying to do it on his own! this fool is trying to better himself on his own power!"
Listen. I have heard these things. Some in what I have read. Some in my own heart and mind. The logic does not even follow. Tending to our spirits, tending to our virtues, this is not usurping Christ's rightful place in our lives. His pure blood flowed onto our stained soil in substitute for my lifeblood. I should have died, like Icarus, a fool in my foolishness. But in His death I died, and in His life I live.
Make every effort, my friends. I think it is probably true, that one cannot love a thing without wanting to fight on that 'thing's behalf. But, perhaps it is more true that one cannot love a thing without needing to fight for that love itself, at times. Put on the new man, as Paul has said in Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3. Pray for God's intervention to change your heart, while you act in such a way that says you expect your heart to change.
More later. I realize my thoughts are disjointed.