Why Do I Have To Love "Them?"

I'm having a real problem - OK, well besides all the other ones. I already new it existed, but I keep brushing it off. However, in Church this Sunday, my issue started coming to a head, and I'm having a real struggle in my heart. I keep wondering why I have to love certain "people." Of course I know the answer from the standpoint of what Jesus said and all, but why? Last week two situations presented themselves, which at first I tried not to think about, but over time they have bugged me like a canker sore that refuses to go away.

The first one deals with where I'm living. Not the city of Houston (although it's no Chicago), but rather my apartment/loft building complex. When I first lived here several years ago, it was quiet; neighbors were respectful, and it was virtually crime-free. That's not the case today, but it's not so much the lack of respect amongst residents so much as it is a deepening (and surprising) sense of prejudice growing in me. I try not to stereotype, but it's been hard with certain related activities so prevalent to those living here. Here's one example. For some time there's been one resident who parks his car right outside out our window sitting in the back seat waiting and watching for something. It doesn't take a narc to figure out he's acting as a spotter which was confirmed a few weeks ago when, coming into the parking lot we saw him setting on the curb, surrounded by plain-clothes police and wearing cuffs. It's disconcerting to me that this is going on where I live and literally right under my nose, but it's worse.

Last night I made a quick trip to the convenience store a block from my complex to pick up a few snacks. There's a homeless shelter nearby and a projects-type, housing area across the street. Needless to say, it's not the place to hang out after dark if you want to feel safe. While there, I noticed these two kids - a guy and a girl - that looked like they were straight from High school Musical . It was obvious they were lost and on the wrong side of the tracks. "Zach Effron," being the absolute gentlemen, stayed in the car and on the cell phone sending his blond, girlfriend into the store where she had to walk past a group of hoodlums that had begun drooling the minute they caught her scent three lights away. Her discomfort was visibly evident as she walked in, and I hung around in case she may need assistance. A few minutes later she walked out, and, I kid you not, three or four of those punks literally followed her right up to the car tapping on the windows as they shouted what a "good time" she'd have with them. Needless to say the kids laid some tire in their escape.

I watched the entire thing with disgust and loathing. It's incidents like these that have made me say over and over to Ashley how we are moving out of this "hood" at all costs, I don't care how cool it is inside the place. Loud music, late nights, tricked-out rumbling cars, blatant rudeness - I've already had one brush with a neighbor who insisted on hanging pictures at 1:30 in the morning. I tried to be non-confrontational, but you can guess how that went. Then other day I saw her and smiled as I said hello, but she just blew me off as she entered her apartment. All this, and I'm commanded to love them? I'll be honest. I don't want to.

That's one of the cases I'm struggling with. The other involves the annulment process initiated by my first wife who's a staunch Catholic. I am not, of course, but I have no serious issue with the Catholic faith, and have a deep respect for their beliefs even those I may not agree with. I'm going to skip the background, but at first I opted not to participate in the annulment proceedings. That changed after I found out I was missing out on some information I needed to be aware of and through gaining a larger understanding of what goes on and why from an extremely helpful group of people representing the diocese presiding over our case. As one of the last items prior to deliberation by appointed officials determining whether to grant the annulment, I was given the opportunity to review all the testimony recorded by the witnesses testifying on my ex's behalf. I have taken something of a passive approach by not directly interfering which includes having no witnesses and offering no direct challenge to the annulment itself. Basically, I'm just following along with the details and what's being said.

It took nearly four hours to read the testimony of three witnesses and my ex-wife and frankly, it was horrible. Some things were true. I did things wrong and I have to face up to them, but much of it was not to the point of ridiculousness. I tried to laugh it off, but over the course of the week the things said have started to get to me. As part of the conditions of the annulment, I cannot state specifically what was said publicly, but there were a few comments that were blatantly contrived and hurtful especially concerning speculation over my reaction to the testimony as well as what kind of father I am. Thinking of them even now, they make me want to cry at how hurtful they were. Keep in mind, if they were true then that's one thing, but the fact that much of them were not was a punch in the gut. To be fair I understand that those testifying on her behalf love her and want what's best, but it's still painful to know there are people out there that feel so strongly about me.

After the divorce I kept reminding myself that forgiveness is a daily thing. I couldn't just say I forgave my ex-wife and that would be the end of it. I came to the conclusion that forgiveness would be a daily activity, just like being a recovering alcoholic beating their addiction one day at a time. Most of the time I can forgive my ex, but it's easy when you don't have to deal with her except for a few minutes, out of a few days in a month. Today, and the last few days, I have struggled to forgive her. So again I ask, do I have to love her?

If you're thinking that this is the point where I write about how God has brought me to some great revelation about how I'm to love my enemies, it's not. He states it in plane black and white. It's a simple command, but one that's hard to execute especially when you feel justified to not love them. I could move away from my loft, and I could ignore my ex-wife, but that won't take away what Christ wants to see in action, and it doesn't resolve my struggle within. I'm human and I'm frail. I struggle over the fact that I'm not sure I could show love in action. This scares me because, I have this gut feeling that God is going to test me, and I will fail. I know that He will forgive me, but this is still a struggle for me to overcome.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Ads Section

Ads Section

  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP