The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. Thomas Merton
Meditation: It is tempting to make others into images or into ideals we have of them, or into images of ourselves. At times I see fathers expect their sons to be exactly like them. Or I see mothers wanting their daughter to live out the dream that they were never able to fulfill. I see a spouse battle the other over many years, as he is not living up to the expectations of how she wants to be loved by him. Often this self-seeking behavior has to do with short-comings and wounding caused by former experiences of misguided or “not good enough” ways of “loving”. Jesus embodied a model of love that makes the “object” of love into a “subject”. Instead of love being based on self-seeking control, Jesus modeled a love that fundamentally and deeply respects the other. Jesus challenges our human love to raise up to greater heights based on God’s ways of loving us.
Prayer: God of Love, You teach us in Jesus that love does not hurt, does not control and does not oppress. As we should not make an image of You, we should also not try to change another person into an image we have of him or her. Thank you for challenging our self-seeking ways of loving others. Humble us first, and then also empower us to distinguish between truly loving others and trying to control them. Amen
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1. Corinthians 13: 4-5