Tag Archive: Love


In the last 6 to 8 months, I have been learning quite a bit about the intersection of love and forgiveness.  In my youth, I was the one who would not think before I said/did something, and I would be the one asking for forgiveness.  My concept of what love looked like was a bit skewed and often hurt more than it should have.  I even lost dear friends due to the fact that the change in my character didn’t happen soon enough.  I almost lost relationships with my whole family from it.  Forgiveness and love isn’t easy.  I am learning it the hard way, and yet, I am grateful that God loves me enough to be willing to not allow me to stay the way that I am.  (today, anyway)

Often, my understanding of something comes from first-hand experience.  The last several months have been really difficult walking through these experiences.  Dealing with a few particular people, I have had my heart broken, both by the conflict that comes about when one has to love and forgive, and the realisation that I am found fallen way short of what Christ calls us to be.

Most of the time, when we hear the phrase “love one another”, it is in reference to how we as Christians (and humanity) are supposed to treat one another.  The idea that to love someone must have an external component isn’t a new one.  We show people we love them in many ways.  So many ways, in fact, that there is even a popular author who wrote several books on the 5 basic types of ways (languages) of love that we receive and give.  The books are widely popular, and effective for people who often don’t think about how their actions/reactions will be perceived by others.

Most of the time, when we talk about forgiveness, we again talk about how we as Christians (and humanity) are supposed to treat one another.  There are many pithy sayings involving forgiving and forgetting, and even one of my favourite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. is the following… Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.”  Forgiveness is often at the root of many maladies that we as a society suffer from, and it’s a significant stumbling block for many people.

How these two concepts mesh is where we tend to get confusing and conflicting information and points of view.  If we take the concept of loving one another from what Jesus says then we get:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:34-35

And, if we take the concept of forgiving one another from what Jesus says then we get:

“If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” — Luke 17:3-4

Those two, coupled with the comments that God loved us enough to send His son as a sacrifice for our sins, and as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us, make the directive a hard one to really live out.

Yet, the way that society looks at love isn’t really close to the love that Christ has for us.  We’re taught that love is sacrificial.  So, we put aside our wants or feelings for the betterment of someone else.  Forgiveness is often treated the same way.  If you offend me, then I am supposed to forgive you no matter how many times it happens.  Yet, that seems to be a superficial way of doing things, at least according to how God loves us.

In light of how God loves us, we see that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is supposed to be transformational in our lives.  The love expressed isn’t truly love unless it calls someone to recognise that the sacrifice was because of who we are.  Broken, bruised, hurtful, spiteful, manipulative, and even malevolent… Christ’s death on the cross affords us to be able to choose a better way.  The cross makes a brutal and senseless act a choice for us.  We come to our crossroads and are given a choice… take up our cross and follow Him, or keep doing our own thing.  Christ’s love for us is not a happy or warm feeling, it’s a choice to be transformed to be like Him.

Forgiveness in that light means that we don’t only forgive someone the 77 times a day that someone does something wrong to us.  Forgiveness has to be restorative to the relationship but also transformational as well.  It should include within it the recognition of a choice.  The choice to learn a better way… to act, to feel, to behave, to think.  Too often, far too often, we err either on the side of forgiveness that keeps grudges or a tally sheet, or is far too lenient and does not offer the offender the chance to grow and change.  We as people don’t tend to know how to forgive in a transformational way.

After being offended repeatedly, we become less and less able to function without keeping score.   Essentially it’s rebuking without letting it go.  Or, we just chalk behaviour up to “just being so-and-so, it’s how they are” and the person never is confronted enough to change.  The first keeps us from actual forgiveness, and the second keeps someone in their sinful behaviour.

So, what do we do?  Loving someone enough to bear the slings and arrows of someone else’s actions, coupled with being in a relationship enough to be willing to see lasting change is a tough calling.  Most people would either write off someone who constantly is needing forgiveness, or would distance themselves from the person.  God’s calling often is to press deeper in a relationship with them, and be an instrument of change in their lives.  To truly love sacrificially means more than what we’re comfortable with today.  Most people could visualise a situation where they could give their life for another, whether or not they actually would go through with it.  Most people would not put up with someone constantly manipulating, stirring up discord, having to have their way, being so self-absorbed, not considering others’ feelings, offending repeatedly, or many other conflicts that happen everyday.  But, we’re called to be in a relationship where change can happen, through love and support, confrontation and correction.

It’s a difficult line to walk.

The folks that I have been dealing with are stretching me with their behaviour.  It’s truly easy to either write them off as victims of their actions or just stop interacting with them altogether.  It’s more desirable to just call them out, without being willing to stand with them long enough to see them change.  To say, “Here’s what you did wrong, fix it.” addresses the issue without the restorative love behind it.  I get it though, sometimes you cannot take another affront, power play, childish fit, going behind our back, gossiping, hurt-filled moment.  Even though it’s not the physical lashings of a whip upon our backs, our hearts sometimes cannot take another word or action that hurts us.  But Christ’s love was sacrificial, even to a humiliating death on a cross.  His love was transformational, even to give us new life.  His forgiveness was complete, but calling to a change in behaviour, thought, and character.

Our love and forgiveness should be nothing less than that.

For, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”  — Matthew 25:40

And, “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”  — Matthew 25:45

A hard word for me for the last several months, and I’m still struggling and learning.

Selah

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Although I have a couple of irons in the creative fire at the moment, I ran into something that floored me.  I found the first real woman in my life, again after a long, long time.  She was someone who changed my life in ways that I still struggle to put into words.  Her influence in my life became the benchmark of romance, allure, mystery, love, and passion. 

I still remember the first time I realised that I loved her.  There was such a romantic lazy moon in the sky.  We were sitting out under the stars,  out on the open water near Mobile, Alabama.  The sea was quite still due to the whispers of the winds barely blowing.  There was such a sense of peace and the world around me is an image that I can recall so vividly that at the time of writing this, I am smiling so wide.  =)

To this day, I probably measure every woman who I come into contact with against her.  From her, I learned that beauty is not wrapped up in appearances.  Beauty comes from the world which opens up because of the one you love.  When her presence opens up the world to you, that’s incredibly beautiful.  True beauty comes in and transforms you from the inside and makes things around you resonate similarly.  That amazing woman opened up worlds to me that I still explore in the recesses of my imagination, daily.

I saw her in the early morning, as I was trekking along through the internet while coping with a touch of insomnia.  For a moment, I was ever so young again.  I could feel myself sitting with her, spending time on the open water gazing out on the horizon as the sun rose or set along the coast… I felt at home, peaceful in my spirit, and warm throughout my heart.  She is as beautiful as I remembered her.

Here…  

                                                                                                        … isn’t she gorgeous?

Her name?  Fairwinds.  A now, 58-year-old Pearson Alberg blue-water rigged sloop.  When I was first told that we would have our sailboat, I wasn’t totally thrilled.  As a matter of fact, I reacted with less reticence or tact.  I basically told my folks off.  I really didn’t want to change our lives at all.  But, when we finally got out on the open water… something radically started to change in me.  The water seemed to call to me, but only when I was with Fairwinds.  The sea isn’t fickle or difficult, it’s both serene and intense.  I was so young and impressionable, and the mercurial environment seemed to be a mirror to my life.  She really opened up a world to me that changed how I process almost everything I go through, even to this day.  From desires to people to culture to challenges to philosophy to God, she helped me by showing me a way to look at life in a myriad of different ways… all by exposing the sea to me.

Here she are some pictures that I found of Fairwinds now… Wow these bring back such memories:  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are all pictures of what she looks like today.  She still has the same colours both inside and outside.  It’s amazing to see things so close to what I remember.  I found myself giddy and blushing and flush being overwhelmed with youthful memory.  She was the one who made me afraid, and made me alive.  She pulled courage from deep inside of me, and infused me with the ability to feel secure in the calmest of times and also within the most chaotic of circumstances.  Storms and glass- like seas.  They are the two sides of the same coin.  When I was with her, I felt so much older than the boy that I really was.  I think that’s why when you see lifers, people who live on the sea, they are always looking so weathered, worn out.  The passionate experiences make you age ever so much more than you would in the comforts of being on land.  But, it’s worth it all.

I would never change a thing, except perhaps being able to go back and do it all again, so I could better appreciate falling in love with the sights, sounds, smells, sensations… What a romantic thought, don’t you think?  Here is a glimpse of what I got to see or be while I was enamoured with that wonderful lady… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But this is how I will always remember her… 

 

Sometimes, it’s your first love that changes the world forever.  She left me with her Fairwinds echoing in my ears and those following seas following me everywhere.  I cannot imagine who I would be now without her in my life.

 

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