Our one task

Photo by Yann Allegre

I know it can come off as corny, cliched, and simplistic, but I’ll say it right off the bat in this entry because it’s true…

At the end of the day, our one and only task is to love each other.

Yes, life is complicated. Yes, sometimes we do the unspeakable to each other. It’s complex.

I have a dear friend — I’ll name her Joan — who owns a rental property that’s been inhabited by a single mother with substance abuse issues. At first, things were fine, but soon, the tenant couldn’t afford to pay rent. It got ugly and went to court for eviction proceedings. She took forever to get her stuff out of there, the place was a mess and had to have drastic repairs, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Joan has every right to be upset. I get it, I really do. But I also know that Joan should also take a moment in the midst of this thing to close her eyes and count her blessings for not being in her ex-tenant’s shoes. Because as much of a financial and emotional burden as this has been for Joan, at least she isn’t fighting the inner demons and the wolf at the door that her ex-tenant is.

A word from Colossians…

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
 — Colossians 3:12–14

So much wisdom, right there…

(But it’s so not easy.)

Compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline?… These aren’t the qualities that Tony Robbins or my coach in high school told me was going to help me win in life!

And this one…

Be content with second place?

Are you kidding me?!! How am I supposed to support my family and save up for retirement if I take it from people like that?

Oh, right… This is a path of descent, not ascent. This is not your typical motivational message.

And finally, from the passage above…

Love is our basic, all-purpose garment.

Not some-purpose. Not just when our tenant pays the rent and leaves our home spic and span…

All-purpose.

At the end of the day, Joan’s job — in the eyes of God — is to love this woman. To extend the mercy that God extends to us.

No, it won’t make sense. No, the score will not be settled. Yes, you’ll likely have taken a couple licks. But are you going to give those licks right back and keep them in circulation, or are you going to absorb the vengeance and make it stop with you?

Yes, you gotta do what you gotta do. Yes, there are bills to pay and life goes on. But at a certain level and at a certain point in time, we must drop the armor, lay the sword down, and love our neighbor. Just as we are loved by God herself.

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