They’re the worrrrrrrst, am I right?
(I actually disagree, but that’s a whole different blog post.)
Millennials are most known by the rest of society for how they are running the morals and values and beliefs held commonly by former generations to the underground.
But, there’s one thing this generation seemingly ‘gets’ and truly wants to be known for:
How we LOVE—
LOVE and understanding.
LOVE and acceptance.
LOVE and belonging.
LOVE and embrace.
LOVE and diversity.
LOVE and new ways of thinking.
LOVE and no exceptions…
…unless you don’t love me back.
Then, it’s pretty much just HATE.
At the end of the day, we all just want to be known and understood and then loved in return for being ourselves. It’s when we’re not fully known and understood that we can feel less than loved or valued.
When love is communicated to us without first getting a sense of being understood, we may find ourselves questioning the motives or genuineness of the ‘lover.’
In efforts to fix the world of all its injustices and problems, us Millennials took it upon ourselves to perpetuate a simple yet powerful mantra of “LOVE” and acceptance within every realm we carry influence…
Surely if we just adopt a blanket covering of love for all walks of life, for everyone and everything, surely that’ll solve a multitude of issues…
The problem with this plan is that love without understanding, love without being fully known first, can often lead to more problems.
Worse yet, we often find ourselves being unwilling to love, or even unwilling to try to understand or know others, without first being understood, known, and loved.
But if this is true, then how can we be expected to understand everyone just so that we can love them–especially if we don’t feel completely loved ourselves at first?
Theorists and philosophers have argued that altruism–the idea of completely selfless service–is actually a myth. They would assert that we as human beings serve others knowing there will be a warm, fuzzy, pat-yourself-on-the-back feeling afterwards, and so we are motivated to do good and serve others with this expectation of good feelings in mind.
The New Testament uses two different words for love: phileo and agape.
Phileo is what love looks like among friends or two parties where both are beneficiaries. (Think Philadelphia: the city of brotherly love.) Phileo says, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours,” or “You treat me kindly and I’ll do the same.”
Agape is what love looks like when it is unconditional and not based on performance or even when it is unrequited or not returned. Agape says, “No matter what, even if __________ happens, I will love you with an fierce, continuous love that just keeps on coming like a fire hydrant that can never be shut off.”
“WITHOUT GOD we can only love with a selfish love–one that cannot be given if it is not received and returned. However, agape loves regardless of the response. This agape is the love Jesus shed when He forgave from the cross.”
–John Bevere, “The Bait of Satan”
Stand where you may on this idea of agape, selfless love and where it comes from, but all this made me realize I have something real to confess to the world:
AS MUCH as I want to proudly tell the world how I’ve lived a life of love and acceptance–how even when I fell short of loving or accepting I always had the sincerest of intentions–I have to confess that I have often loved with a selfish love.
- “SURELY if I learn how to love them better–maybe with an understanding of their love language or MBTI personality or what kind of baked goodies they like–they will learn to love me back.”
- “SURELY if I am known for my big, naturally loving heart, then others will just come to love me naturally.”
- “SURELY if I love them, and love them well, they WILL love me well in return.”
This confession feels really gross to admit.
I don’t want people to know I have ever loved with hopeful intentions of being loved in return. Worse than that, there’s a prideful part of me that doesn’t want people to know how badly I wanted to be loved by them.
And, for those who I unsuccessfully loved, for those who I tried to love with all I could give but they refused to love me back, well, what am I even supposed do with them?
In “A Personality Conflict with the Creator”, I talked about a recent Come-to-Jesus meeting where I had to face all my unforgiveness issues with a handful of folks from my past. As I prayed for a new heart and strength to forgive and let go of these old hurts, God actually spoke this word:
“LOVE ALL THE PEOPLE.” –GOD
Instead of “Love all the people who you want to love you back,” or
“Love all the people who are most like you and who ‘get’ you,” or
“Love all the people who you know love you,”
GOD was commanding I Love. All. The. People. Period. End of Discussion.
…What this looks like “on the reg” is, again, probably a whole different blog post.
But, as a takeaway, I do know now that loving ALL the people requires more than just a desire to be loved in return. Loving all the people can sometimes mean we are not guaranteed any love back, even with our best efforts and intentions.