I shared this passage about Christian love, written by Richard P. McBrien, with the senior high group that meets on Sunday evenings at First Presbyterian Church. I thought it beautifully illustrated two points. First, if we intend to love as Christ did, we must stop being consumed with ourselves. Second, the opposite of love is a lack of concern or apathy. Following is the quote from Catholicism found on page 939.
If we are really to love as Christ intends, we have to overcome our own narcissism. We must strive for objectivity in every situation and become sensitive to the situations where objectivity eludes us. We must see the difference between our picture of another and the other’s behavior, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the way the other really is, apart from our own interests, needs, fears, and “hang-ups.” Christian loving also means readiness to take risks, to accept pain and disappointment. It means using one’s human powers productively. Loving demands a state of intensity and commitment. Christian love cannot coexist with indifference. Indeed, the opposite of love is not hate but apathy, a lack of concern, a suspension of commitment (literally, apathy means to be “without pain”).
Making a commitment to “love as Christ intends” involves taking a risk and overcoming fear. If that is done, lives and communities will be changed through Christ’s love. Check out 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 and read what Paul has to say about Christian love.
See you on the third floor!