From Perfect Love, humankind is created in its image. Even as we see the self as imperfect, God sees the self perfectly. Like the parent that loves a not-so perfect handcrafted mother’s day gift from her child, she loves what is “perfectly” created because of the one who created it. So too, we are “perfectly” created and ours is a journey to love this gift of the self even in its perceived imperfectness, because of the one who originally created it out of Perfect Love.
Genesis 1:1, 26-27; 1John 4:7-19
…everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 1 John 5:1-12 I remember the time I felt courageous enough to share with my mother how I felt as I was growing up and her part in making me feel the way I did. I had recently graduated from college and working at my father’s business. I’m not exactly sure why it seemed the right time but I just needed her to know. It wasn’t pretty. She was gracious enough to listen to everything I said without interruption. After a moment of silence, she simply stated, “I did the best that I could.” If I had thought that I wasn’t her favorite daughter before, I certainly didn’t win any browny points that day. Although I had no way of knowing how much of life was ahead of me because of her, I immediately realized my mother’s perfect love up to and including that moment; how much life I had actually lived because of her. Coming from very humble beginnings herself, she had a college graduate as proof. She had done the best she could. It took me a while to forgive myself for being so cruel that day. In spite of my “audacity of the self”, she never held it over me. So much more is God’s perfect love deep enough to forgive things we think are unforgivable and not hold our selfish feelings against us. Each of us in our journey towards love through Christ must do the best we can.
I believe experiencing love for oneself is one of the most important things we can teach our children. It is not simply the arrogance of loving oneself. It is experiencing love in relationship with the Holy Spirit within us. It is the consciousness of what is good, what is right, what is whole, and what is perfect. It is not experienced in bits and pieces but rather consistent and ongoing knowledge of God’s love for us in spite of our conditions. This ultimate perfection in love cannot be experienced through other people because as humans we are imperfect. It can only be experienced through God in Christ. As much as we like to think that our love is perfect, it is not. We hurt each other albeit unintentionally. Even our feeble attempts to protect those we love hurts because we want to hide things. The reality is that we hide things to protect ourselves, not the people we love. If we first seek and experience God’s perfect love, then we will know what love is suppose to feel like, without conditions (mercy and grace). Having obtained the perfection of God’s love within us, it is then that the peace, which passes all understanding, becomes our peace, walking in love, as Christ loves us. We obtain that peace when we understand God’s love for us. When we understand God’s love for us, then we are able to begin to apply God’s love to other people. Not the other way around.
1 John 4:7-8 …because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.