As we grow in our comprehension of love we search for better, different, and new ways to express it. This search probably affects those closest to us the most, but it rubs off on everyone with whom we come in contact. Thus, we tend to fall into a kind of hierarchy of love which actually may, to a certain degree, have a negative effect upon our growth in love. If we say we love You most, and then those closest to us, and then our friends and associates, and finally those we deal with in the daily marketplace, what then is left for the stranger, the guests at the wedding, the woman at the well, the lepers? If we would really perfect our love maybe we should start from the bottom and work up.
It may just be that as we learn to love those we usually ignore our capacity to love friends and associates, those closest to us, and You, will grow and take on new aspects. If, ultimately, our love for You is reflected in our love for others, it seems we should be working diligently on this bottom-up approach. If we set as our goal nurturing and growing in our relationship with You, we must learn to love those we find hardest to love – those who, when we think we are right, prove us wrong. I know that when I encounter someone who corrects or amends my established thought on some matter, I become internally defensive and cautious. To be one-upped is annoying. Yet, though they may be my Scribes and Pharisees, they are the ones with whom my love should begin. They are me in other clothes – as they are You.