Why is it seemingly so easy to talk to members of my family about mundane, inconsequential matters and so difficult to talk to them about You?
There are a number of things at work here. One is the fear of projecting that “holier than thou” image which is an immediate turn-off especially to those closest to oneself who know better. Another is the perception that I believe I have something to offer, but I fear rejection from those from whom I least want to feel it. Still another is the fear that I get in Your way rather than just allowing things “to be” and trusting that You’ll take care of them in Your own way.
There is fear involved in all of them and, if analyzed, it is a fear of how it will affect me not the other. There is too much self in my fear, especially the fear of being wrong. It’s like saying, ‘I don’t mind being a channel of Your grace, Lord, but I want to know that I am right.’This hunger for self-affirmation and righteousness belies a trust in Your grace in my own life. It fails to let go and allow You to work through me. Learning to do this is painful. Those we love are often in such tremendous need that it becomes gut-wrenching to admit that our talking to them about our own spirituality, or about our relationship with You, may not be what is needed at all. All that is needed is love. But how to let our love come through gnaws at us.
I can’t swallow that love is permissiveness, or love is the ability to ignore, or love is passive and overlooking or, worse, that love is afraid. Yet, so often, the “love” that others want and expect is just that, and to lose our selves and please them we heed their wishes. Care and concern for the other are born of love and so the dilemma is choosing between what one thinks is best or doing what the other thinks is best. It’s a constant push-pull, the reality of which manifests itself as a little of both.
There can be no denying that the purest form of love is a total, unconditional denial of “self” for the other, and that the “conditions” imposed by the other in accepting that love must often be accepted by the lover. Rejections of these conditions may be perceived by the other as a lack of love, but, in fact, are invalid criteria in determining that love.
Love is that which is the best we have to give, not the best we are expected to give.We cannot demand love. Overpowering the lover’s will denies of love that quality of being freely given. That I may know how I want to be loved is not a condition validly placed for the love being offered.
We grow in the ability both to give and receive love. I cannot, ultimately, force You on others as a condition for my love for them. You don’t do that to us. But You offer, and there’s the difference. As You do not force Yourself upon us, so I should not force You upon others, but I should not hesitate to offer You as You offer Yourself to us.