On Love and Liking

From our church bulletin today.

(It’s amazing to me how voraciously and omniverously our pastors read, to be able to dig up these random sources that most of us have never heard of, and be able to quote them for whatever topic is being addressed in a particular week)

“The simple fact of the matter is that trying to be perfectly likable is incompatible with loving relationships. Sooner or later, for example, you’re going to find yourself in a hideous screaming fight, and you’ll hear coming out of your mouth things that you yourself don’t like at all, things that shatter your self image as a fair, kind, cool, attractive, in control, funny, likable person.

Something realer than likability has come out in you, and suddenly you’re having an actual life. Suddenly there’s a real choice to be made: Do I love this person? And for the other person: Does this person love me?

There is no such thing as a person whose real self you like every particle of. This is why a world of liking is ultimately a lie. But there is such a thing as a person whose real self you love every particle of.”

Jonathan Franzen, paragraphs and emphasis added

And as a corollary to that, albeit we appreciate it for mere snatches on this side of heaven, there is such a thing as every particle of your real self being loved. This is very uncomfortable in our meritocratic culture, but this is the love of Christ.

Also said, and slightly paraphrased from today’s sermon: God bears all of you, God hopes in you [even when you give him every reason not to], God believes the best for you, God endures all of you. God never fails.

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