A command to love

Finding the good despite the glaring flaws

Kyle Berg

Here at Union, we are blessed to be part of a tight-knit family. We have opportunities to grow together, recognize familiar faces in the halls and form lasting friendships.

We also have opportunities to see the same people every day whom we just cannot stand. People who overcook our grits and grind our gears to the point beyond contempt.  

However, if we are honest with ourselves, the way we treat others reflects the way we see God. If we see God as a judgmental, angry, time-is-short-hell-is-hot deity, then we will treat those around us with that same outlook.

Paul agrees: if we speak without love, then we are like a “noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1, ESV). To put it in modern terms, we sound like a car alarm. No one wants to hang out with a car alarm.

Another cause of bad blood could be underlying personal issues. If I feel like I hate someone because they lied to me, there is a chance that I may have been hurt in the past by someone who lied to me, or that I may habitually lie to others in my own life. That’s why we need to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Why does this person bother me so much?”

When we look within and discern the root of the problem, we can focus on bettering ourselves rather than hating on others. It is normal to disagree—we can despise what someone has done; but to despise the person creates bitterness within ourselves.

My father told me, “bitterness is the poison we swallow, hoping the other person dies.” There is great truth in those words, and with great truth, comes the greater ability to ignore it.

unfortunately, we fall into this frame of mind that it is ok to be bitter, cold, and calloused towards certain others. I took this mentality a step further and use to think it cool that people knew how I felt about them.

“At least they knew where they stand with me.”

This was my code. My mantra for resolving the way I treated other people. Late last year, I finally realized the error of my creed. When I showed my bitterness and distaste towards other so openly it only demonstrated my cowardice, not my courage.  

We think love is a choice. But according to Jason Belcher, guitarist and vocalist for The Ember Days, “Love is a not a choice—it is a command.” If we want to keep our Union family strong, we need to take that command seriously.

Kyle is a senior studying language arts education.