People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
–Abel Tendekai Muzorewa, Methodist bishop and Prime Minister of Zimbabwe*
It was on a card. I framed it. For a long time, it sat on my desk. Now it sits on the table beside my big therapy chair. It is my daily aspiration.
We are in the wake of a very divisive time. We have probably all experienced the harshness of this election cycle. And it has been a very long and painful one. We are left to pick up the pieces and move on in a united way. I’ve gotten so many texts, calls, private messages and requests to process it with me. People asking how to cope in the face of disappointment, uncertainty and fear. I felt I’ve had so little to offer.
Then the thought hit me early Wednesday morning in my meditative space: Love anyway.
I have found myself in recent months using the appropriated motto from the marriage equality movement, Love Wins. Prior to that in 2011, there was a controversial book of the same name that hit the New York Times best seller list by author and minister, Rob Bell. I’ve only read some reviews and summaries, but apparently Bell asks some difficult questions in it about the nature of Christianity and concludes that as a doctrine, love wins. I like the notion, Love Wins. It fits with my personal philosophy. I teach a marriage class. I work with hurting people every day. It’s hard to make an argument against love.
But love doesn’t always win. Sometimes we still lose. Yet it remains the right thing to do. Love Anyway.But love doesn’t always win. Sometimes we still lose. Yet it remains the right thing to do. -LiM2 Click To Tweet
Choosing to love in the face of anger, loss, grief, and despair is the ultimate challenge. Love Anyway. Sure, it’s easy when we’re in a positively charged situation or relationship and we’re all awash with feel-good hormones. Choosing to love when in conflict or opposition requires a shift in our mindset. Choosing to love in the face of adversity IS Christ’s greatest and most repetitive lesson.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. – 1 John 4:16
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. – 1 John 4:19-20
Perhaps the greatest gift of love is when we see it and hear it as the inspiration of a grieving parent forgiving their child’s murderer. In fact, Nelba Marquez-Greene, mother of a beautiful 6 year old daughter Anna Grace who was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, also adopted the motto Love Wins. Could you? Her story is heartbreakingly honest and raw (listen here), yet, she chooses to Love Anyway. People like Nelba are some of the most remarkable, inspirational survivors who I’ve discussed here before. It sure puts an election in perspective and charges us with a daunting task as we move forward.
Choosing to love in the face of anger, loss, grief, and despair is the ultimate challenge. Love Anyway.
Choosing to love anyway also happens everyday in the most intimate spaces of our daily lives. It happens when we awaken the morning after learning our partner has betrayed us and we are working through those issues. It happens when we are profoundly disappointed as we learn that our child has made a decision that does not align with how we believe we have raised them. It happens when our employer delivers the news that the company is downsizing and there is no room for us. It happens when our friend doesn’t come through for us in our time of need. It happens when our neighbor criticizes us. It happens when our child’s teammate bullies them. It happens when we get a bad grade or poor evaluation. It happens when we are uncertain about a budding relationship. It happens when we lose and someone else wins—in whatever context. Life is just messy, both personally and culturally.
Fear is actually on the opposite end of the spectrum from love. Fear drives the process of ‘othering’ and disallows love. It points a critical finger and says, “You are different. I don’t understand you. I’m afraid. So I will build my own wall around me. I will keep you out.” That wall built by fear prevents the possibility of love. But the ‘others’ are the very people that Christ chose to reach out to and love. Again, we are charged with bringing walls down. We are charged to love anyway. Despite our lack of understanding. Despite our fear. Despite whether we know we will win. Can you? It is critical that we remain vigilant about this process so that the vulnerable and marginalized are loved anyway and no one’s child will die because of this othering process.
Again we see that Life is Messy but Love Anyway. Give your life a chance to be Marvelous.
*This is often referred to as the Paradoxical Commandment and credited to Mother Theresa. I have no idea why the credit on my card is assigned to Bishop Abel Tendekai Muzorewa, but I decided to go with this version and reference because it resides beside me day after day.