I contemplated asking “what is love?” and then clicking the publish button on the right. We likely all have a personal definition of love, a working definition of it. I’m sure there are some very general aspects of the definition that we’ll all share, but maybe there are some components that would differ. I’m not interested in the differences right now, I’m interested in the similarities. What are the similarities among individual definitions of love? Positive regard towards another? Warm feelings? An intimate bond? Service and charity? Is love a feeling, a thought, or a motivation? All three? More?
The Beatles told us love is all we need. Personally I think food and water are pretty helpful and classify as needs, but love is really good too. In the New Testament Jesus Christ puts love as the prime factor for the greatest commandments: 1) love God 2) love your neighbor as yourself. There’s no question that love (or an immature counterfeit of it) dominates popular culture music, movies and books. Love is everywhere, and love is powerful. What do you think?
Is it strange to bring up the terrorist attack and subsequent mayhem of last week in a post called Love?
Following the U.S. military operation that resulted in the death of bin Laden, I wrote a post for my old blog titled “Death of a Terrorist, Death of a Fellow Human Being.” I’m reminded of that this week. Yes, the actors in terror attacks are terrorists, but aren’t they people as well? Do their acts cause them to give that up? Their acts cause them to lose basic rights to freedom, as they have proven they have little to no regard for other people, so as a society we restrict them in the name of public safety. That’s what we have to do. That’s the consequence for such actions. The terrorists make a choice and we follow through with the consequence. So what about love?
Love is forgiveness. We don’t have to condone an activity to forgive the perpetrator of it. If we did then we’d probably never forgive a lot of things and instead dwell on them while allowing rage to build up within our hearts. That’s not healthy, ask Bruce Banner. The question I need to ask this week is this: can I forgive the Tsarnaev brothers and any co-conspirators that may have been involved? If I will lay any claim to being a Christian then the answer is yes. At least, the answer of whether or not I should forgive them is yes, the personal question of can I may be different, but there is no doubt that I should forgive them.
Love demands forgiveness. Forgiveness does not demand acceptance or approval. I do not approve of terrorism. I do not approve of murder. I do approve of love and forgiveness. Without forgiveness I think we turn into the things or the people that have offended us. By all means we enact justice, according to established laws, for the surviving participants in the marathon bombing, and all other terrorists we apprehend, but let’s please retain our love and ability to forgive. Even, and especially, when the guilty party does not plead for it.