When you are asked to Love you aren’t just being asked to be loving, you are tasked with taking care of Love. To ensure that its volatility doesn’t end up in the wrong hands, or to make certain that its fragility is understood and respected.
The Truth About Love
I spend a lot of time talking about how important Love is. That we should Love our neighbors as ourselves. That we should Love God. That Love is what fuels Compassion, and that through applying Compassion we can experience Joy.
Love is also something that happens when you come into Knowing. In other words, when you know someone well, you inevitably come to Love that person, and to want for that person as much as you want for yourself. In that sense, not only is Love a choice you make (by way of choosing to know another person – something you do through active Compassion), it’s also quite conceivably why we ultimately took a bite of the apple – to understand what it means to Love by knowing.
Of course, that’s probably yet another article for another time.
You often hear about how Love builds. How Love is “good and kind”. How Love is a beautiful, wonderful thing.
What you don’t often hear about is the other, catastrophic side of Love.
If Knowledge is power (as we also so often hear), and Knowledge leads us to Love, then Love is power. Or, perhaps more accurately, it has power. And that makes sense. It takes power to build, after all.
But, of course, what has the power to build also has the power to tear down.
Love Is Volatile
There’s a reason that a fight between lovers can be so explosive, sometimes violent, and filled with rage.
That’s because Love is volatile. It’s like a bomb that could explode at any minute. Dynamite and a match. A grenade with the pin pulled, just waiting for someone to release it. That volatility comes from Knowledge.
Perhaps it’s from knowing the other person so well that when he or she acts out of character, or unpredictably, it lights a fuse underneath you.
Maybe it’s that slight roll of the eyes, the curl of the lip, or that particular shrug of the shoulder. The one that you know is meant in some way to get under your skin.
Is it because he or she said this, but you know he or she meant that?
That knowledge of each other – the kind that causes us to Love – gets stored in our memory banks. And we can use that information to do wonderful things – to make people feel incredible.
We can also use it to cause immeasurable pain.
Love Is Delicate
There’s a reason why the end of a long friendship, or a marriage, can be so painful.
That’s because Love is delicate. Like a piece of fine China that, if not held properly, can shatter on the cold, hard ground. A flower that must be watered and given enough sun, touched with soft hands. That delicacy, again, comes from Knowledge.
Perhaps you know she trusts you unequivocally. And you use that knowledge to break or undermine her trust, rather than respect it for what it is – what she’s giving.
Maybe you know his biggest hangups, or what he perceives to be his biggest failures or shortcomings, and you use that to make him feel like less of a human being, rather than to support him and build him up.
This intimate knowledge of another person isn’t always given freely, but when two people are within each other’s close proximity for a long enough period of time, the secrets, the shames, their most sensitive and sacred fragments, are exposed.
That knowledge isn’t just something that can be used to hurt.
It’s also something that can be used to absolutely and utterly destroy.
Love Is A Weapon
There’s a reason people will say that they choose to fight their enemies with Love.
I would even argue that there’s a deeper reason that God says to Love your enemies.
It’s not just some hippy-sounding thing. It’s not just about being Compassionate and getting to know the other side so that you can find a way to want for them as you want for yourself. It’s not just about finding ways to Compromise. And it’s not just about the hope of working in them as you choose to let them work in you.
Loving your enemies is as much a tactical strategy as it is about finding peace.
Because Loving your enemies means Knowing them. And when you know them – completely and fully – you know how to completely and utterly destroy them. That’s when they become so exposed that you can bring them to absolute ruin.
But that begs an interesting question: Now that you Love them so deeply and so fully, can you really go through with it?
Two Kinds Of Love
I believe there are two kinds of Love.
There’s the kind that simply feels it, that leads with it. That just Loves and never really understands why. This isn’t a bad or immature Love, but I don’t believe that it’s real Love.
Real Love requires not just Knowledge but a responsibility toward what to do with that Knowledge. When you are asked to Love you aren’t just being asked to be loving, you are tasked with taking care of Love. To ensure that its volatility doesn’t end up in the wrong hands, or to make certain that its fragility is understood and respected.
Love is like holding an entire database of a person’s life in the palm of your hand. It’s like spying on another soul, or infiltrating another life. What do you do with the information you gather? Are you one to keep it safe, or do you use it for ill?
And when God says “Love your enemies”, does He mean it in the strategic sense as well as in the traditional one? If He does, does that mean some enemies need to be vanquished? Or does He mean it as a warning?
In other words, if you Love someone so completely that you can absolutely destroy them, then by destroying them so utterly, do you also annihilate yourself?