Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13.4-7)
Here, the Apostle Paul
with whom I share, of all,
one of the finest names under heaven (or so I believe!),
or the way God, Who is Love, loves –
sans regard for any personal merit
or deserving’s judgment.
I suspect that folk, reading and reflecting on this text, o’er time,
disregarding reason and with more affection for romantic rhyme,
have repeated that time-worn line:
Love is blind;
meaning that love does not the beloved’s faults behold
and, the memories of wrongs done, fast ne’er holds.
Ah, this vision (or version or revision) of love, methinks,
is more the empty bounty of the wishful-thinking
of believing, of betting on life’s purest chance
than trusting in the o’erflowing cup of God’s benevolence.
For the God Who creates all, knows all, sees all,
is the God from Whom, as an olden prayer prays, no secrets are hid.
And only in this divine quality of omnipotent omniscience lies salvation’s seed;
watered by the Spirit of God Who looks beyond our fault to behold our need.
Thus, it seems to me, to love as God loves
is to see everything about the beloved…
(who is anyone,
for all who are created by God are beloved;
as difficult as that may be for any of us
to believe about some of us,
perhaps even to believe about any of us,
that is, about ourselves on our worst days)
…the light and the shadow;
thus, refusing only the day to seek
whilst turning away from (giving blind eye to) the darkness
(for there are days, many days, despite our grandest, most fervent hopes,
when there is little light to see).
For to love as God loves is to see as God sees
through all of our (everyone’s) faults to our (everyone’s) deepest need;
and there, through words of mercy and deeds
of grace, we are to sow compassion’s reconciling seed.
And, lest we fear our failure
or, in our judgments of others, refuse this saintly labor,
God hath called no one to be successful,
for if fruit, any fruit is to be brought
it is God from Whom it is wrought.
Two prominent centuries-old references to the blindness of love are found in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale (c. 1405), “For loue is blynd alday and may nat see” and William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (1596), “…love is blind and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit.”
The “olden prayer” to which I refer is the Collect for Purity (c. 11th century), which reads: Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen (The Book of Common Prayers, page 355, my emphasis)
The “God Who looks beyond our fault to see our need” is a reference to the lyrics of the now-classic Dottie Rambo song, He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need.
2 thoughts on “Love is… Blind? Nay!”
Alrighty Paul!!! I have to remember, “so God calls no one to be successful, only faithful!” We sure do spend a lot of time trying to be successful, and we tend to measure ourselves against other people’s success.
Oh how special our life would be if we just focused on our faith and not success because I believe that when we have faith, success (as God wants success to look like for us) typically follows. A fresh example illustrates what I mean..the rescue effort for the soccer players and their coach has just ended with incredible success of all of them getting out alive. Everyone on the rescue team gave their all (and one SEAL gave his life) to make sure it ended successfully, but watching the parents and the town folks and folks around the world faithfully praying for the success of the rescue I believe is what won out. Parents believed that EACH of their children would survive so much so that none of them left the scene until the last person was out. What a faithful cow for them to make!!
God sees all of us as successes, even through our failures! Now all we need is the faith to match that. Showing and planting the seeds of compassion can be hard but we must try. As #45 selected the next Supreme Court Justice last night, before the announcement I prayed for the person and hope that in deliberation on their cases and decisions for years to come that they would make them with faith and compassion. And even if they don’t I still have to have faith that justice will prevail in the end!
“God sees all of us as successes, even through our failures! Now, all we need is the faith to match that…” Hmmm, truth to tell, for me, I believe this and, indeed, I believe your statement is a statement of faith. For, especially on my worst days or moments in any day when the worst of me is most evident to me, I find it difficult, nay, impossible to see myself as a success, even as I might imagine God sees me. Thus, to believe through my failure or my failings as a human being that God beholds me as a success of divine creation is a stance of greatest confidence, clearly, not, never in myself, but rather always and only in God. I thank you for this helpful…healing insight.
I also deeply appreciate your example of prayer-in-action toward a successful outcome. Oh, how the world held its collective breath, as I imagine it, waiting for the last person trapped in that Thai cave to be rescued. (Now, if we only can discern and decide to act to liberate children and parents separated and incarcerated in the United States!)
As for POTUS’ nominee to the Supreme Court, I will pray along with you (1) that faith and compassion in the deciding of the application of the law will win the day and (2) even if that does not happen that justice will prevail. Amen!