We all resist things, which isn’t necessarily bad. We resist things that are harmful to us. We also resist things that are good for us as well. We resist things that grate on us and things that challenge us.
Our list of “Things To Be Resisted” varies by the person and is subject to change over time. But there is one thing that I think we all resist pretty much all the time.
We resist love, every single one of us. And that’s no news flash. Let’s be honest: Love scares the hell out of us.
Love – the real thing – turns us inside-out and upside-down. It scratches parts of us we’d rather leave untouched. It nudges us to change and grow, and that’s not easy.
Love challenges our fears and insecurities and self-doubts. It scales the walls of our ideologies and our theologies and our philosophies, trying to pull us out of those safe little boxes we’ve built.
Above all, love challenges us to be who we are meant to be.
All of us experience love’s powerfully transforming touch at various times. We have indelible moments that stir something inside of us in a new way.
Love touches and scares us
For example, the first time you held your newborn child and were overwhelmed by that sense of limitless love. Or the moment when you finally fessed up about something horrible you’d done and the person totally forgave you without even a moment’s judgment.
Moments like those make us feel deeply alive and loved. And they scare us by tearing openings into our tough outer skin, the one that’s scarred from a lifetime of hurt and embarrassment and shame.
Love leaves cracks that allow all kinds of new stuff to enter. Love makes us open and vulnerable, and that’s terrifying.
It’s no wonder we most often take the “safe” approach. We build mini-fortresses around our hearts. We erect religious and social and emotional walls. We hide inside superficial relationships. We insist that we don’t really need any more love than what we already have – we’re doing just fine inside our little space, thank you.
Best to avoid it
We understand that love is like that wooden horse in some ways. If we let it inside, it’ll unleash a force that will be out of our control and change everything. We can’t have that.
So, we try out best to avoid it.
As part of the process, we choose independence as our guiding virtue. Avoidance becomes a lifestyle. We judge others and decide they don’t deserve our love. We deem compassion and forgiveness as signs of weakness.
It’s especially sad that much of our “religion” gets twisted into resisting Divine love instead of embracing it. We concoct elaborate reward-and-punishment systems built on the idea that people exactly like me are acceptable and everyone else should be rejected.
Or we decide that we must make arm’s-length deals with an uncompassionate creator who is incapable of love and forgiveness. Instead, love and forgiveness are turned into bargaining chips in a cosmic business deal – you do this, I give you that. And that’s the deal. No substitutions.
Of course, love and forgiveness never come with fine print or strings attached. We can never earn them through our effort, or lose them because of our shortcomings.
Love isn’t a commodity. Forgiveness isn’t a purchase. Both are freely and unconditionally given to all. Everyone is deserving.
I wonder if our reward-and-punishment systems are so historically popular because the idea that we’re all loved scares the hell out of us. It totally upsets how we think about ourselves and how we treat others.
But here’s the good part: No matter how many ways we try to pull away from Love, it never pulls away from us. Love never gives up on us.
Our actions have no effect whatsoever upon Love, whether it’s our attempts to tame it through reward-and-punishment systems, or our attempts to subvert it through power and wealth and domination, or simply our innate human reluctance to let it get deeply inside of us and transform us.
Nothing we do changes Love in any way.
Even when we try to crush it and kill it and bury it out of our fear, Love always rises again, as strong and as beautiful as ever, determined to go on transforming us and our world. Like it or not.
The truly good news is that our resistance is ultimately futile. And thank God for that.