So, if you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you probably already know of my great love for coffee. But, did you know that my heart is torn between two lovers with coffee’s twin, chocolate?
Mmmm, chocolate. Just the sound of it makes my mouth water. Dark, darker, darkest. The richest it can be before it’s considered baking chocolate. Bring it on, I love it. I hear there’s even antioxidants in it that are good for you. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
It’s also a therapeutic food. Somehow just one taste on the tip of my tongue makes any crummy day better. I love that kind of therapy.
But, I hope you know, I use the term “love” loosely when it comes to inanimate objects. And food. I pray that my love for people is at least a little deeper than that. Even on high chocolate, crummy days.
But life does seem to put our definition of love to the test, doesn’t it?
For good reason, I don’t trust the genuineness of my own heart where it concerns love. For instance, I am sure I am not the only one who has ever said, “I love that person, I just don’t like them.” Ha! What is that supposed to mean anyway? It sounds noble, doesn’t it? Until you break it down.
For instance, I don’t like liver. Or love it either. But, I’m fairly safe since I have no obligation to. But what about when I say I don’t “like” a person? Is it possible to still truly have love for them? Or does our dislike of them get in the way?
Or, has our stated love for them become nothing more than just a nice thing to say. Something good Christians should say. But if it’s not heartfelt, isn’t it hypocrisy?
I have thought long and hard about this lately in an attempt to discern what is truly in my heart beneath the outward words. What about the person who I think is stuck up simply by how they wear their hair? Hey, it happens. You know it. What about those people that are always right, do I love them with my feelings of wanting to deck them? What about the ones who don’t think like me, act like me or talk like me, do I love them? Um.
Well, I guess that depends on how we define love. If it is nothing more than similar to the love of chocolate, then perhaps we are all right. But… what if it’s more? What if God is saying, love them, even when they are rude to you. Even when they aren’t nice to you. Even when they don’t love you back. Really? Really.
Can I do that? Well, if I want to love like Jesus loves, I must. But how?
All these questions were rolling around in my brain as I left for the ACFW writer’s retreat last weekend. Feelings of recent conflict with people causing hurt and anger mixed with lots of questions stirred around inside me.
When I arrived, you can imagine my delight when I noticed DOVE dark chocolate strewn on every table. Oh, a weekend with fellow writers to worship the Lord AND eat chocolate, do I need anything else? I was a happy camper.
As Kim Sawyer spoke, she stopped occasionally to challenge us with questions about our own life and things we might be struggling with. When my pen took flight on the paper, I instinctively reached for a chocolate. I dropped it into my mouth, my mind whirling once again as exactly how to love someone unconditionally and what that looks like, when I glanced at the inside of the wrapper. This is what it said.
LOVE WITHOUT RULES.
So plain. So simple.
I knew I had found my answer. I am not called to love others for what I get out of it. I am not called to just love the loveable. Or nice. Or fun. Although they are easier to love, still as Jesus said, “if you love those that love you, what good is that?”
When I love, I should not hold past offenses against them. Jesus doesn’t. I should not let annoyances stand in the way of loving them. I should not let love be based on what I get back.
Just love. Love without rules.
Sage wisdom from Dove Chocolate. Who knew?