Love is chilled out,
good to the Other,
it doesn’t get jealous,
it doesn’t speak truths at people,
it isn’t arrogant,
it doesn’t invalidate the Other’s opinion,
it wants the best for the Other,
it doesn’t snap easily at you,
it holds no grudges.
Love isn’t happy when the Other is hurt,
instead it rejoices when hurt is healed with the good news.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
One of the most interesting things about the post-modern world is the shift of love, truth and offense. In the modernist worldview, one shared by a great many people who were brought up within it, love [in the context of religious conversion, specifically] looks something like this:
- I have a truth [the ‘gospel’]
- I tell you this truth [I show you love]
- You receive the truth [you accept the love]
- You are happier
However, in the postmodern world, the transaction looks more like this:
- I have a truth
- I tell you this truth
- You reject the truth as alien
- You are offended that I should try to override your perfectly valid, self-formed opinion
There are those who lament the change of our society from modern to post modern as a slip further down the slippery slope of moral decline. Yet this is the very same society whose core value is equality. Surely such a society is on the right tracks?
If we look at the way that Jesus dealt with people he was more than happy to tailor his way with each individual. The countless different ways it seems from the gospels that man can be ‘saved’ are but one example of the plurality of ‘truth’ to Jesus.
Perhaps then, love looks more like this:
- I have a perspective on something
- You have a different perspective
- Both of our perspectives are experienced-based and thus valid
- Instead of correcting what I believe to be a mis-founded perspective, I seek to understand why you have a different perspective
- In doing so, I allow myself to see beyond my own understanding, have a richer and deeper relationship with you, and most likely your perception is influenced by my own, on account of my openness.
- I have shown you something good, a way you perceive to be better, and so your perspective changes.
- I have shown you something which is found wanting, and you choose to reject it
Of course, this version of events is more complex, involves more time, involves a better relationship, and could go wrong if we don’t live up to the standards we preach or sign up to (or in the case of leadership in churches, both!) But it shows far more respect and kindness towards others, especially in a world where to simply convey a truth is seen as offensive and rude. Perhaps we need to change our approach – especially those like me, who feel stuck between the modern and the post-modern.