“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
So…something you might not know about me…I love spaghetti westerns. They get their name as they typically, are westerns, filmed in Europe, with Italian directors. My all-time favorites star Clint Eastwood. And my all time favorite of his spaghetti westerns is: “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” It is a great story of three outlaws, motivated by money/greed who are pitting each other against the rest to see who ends up with the gold. Of course, Clint Eastwood’s character “Blondie” is the one who gets to ride off into the sunset with the gold as Lee Van Cleef’s character lays dead and the third character, Tuco, is balancing on top of a tombstone with a noose around his neck…don’t worry…Clint shoots the rope, and it breaks as the iconic music begins to play…which fun ironic little trivia here: the theme song is titled “The Ecstasy of Gold.” And, you can listen to it here: The good the bad and the ugly – Theme – YouTube
The things is…While I love the movie, the story line leaves no one as a clear hero. They are all greedy, all looking to take home the gold, and all willing to kill for it. I think, what I see in the characters of this movie is a lot of what I see in the world today, people willing to do whatever is necessary to get what they want with no regard for anyone else. It seems that our individual needs far outweigh the needs of the many. And I wonder: “How did we get here?”
But then I remember a number of years ago when I did a study on empire. And I realize, we have always been here. There are always people in our world who will do whatever it takes to get what they want (including each of us) and some who will even destroy or kill if they can’t have what they want. It is the attitude that if I can’t have it or him/her then no one can. It is a selfish, self-centered ideology. And unfortunately, it has always plagued humanity.
The other thing about this attitude: It is as far from loving as it can get. Which is why I love that the Bible teaches us we are to love one another just as Jesus has loved us. We are to love others as we love ourselves. We are to love because as Paul taught the greatest things in life are faith, hope, and love but the greatest of them all is love. We are to love like God loved us enough to send Jesus to die for us so we can be in a right relationship with God the Father. We are to love even when we get nothing, we think we want but we end up getting everything we need. We are to love in a way that is selfless and thinks of other people and their comfort and needs over our own. We are to love because love will drive out fear. We are to love…it seems simple, but as it turns out, being and acting loving towards others is a lot harder than it seems.
We get hurt and lash out in our hurt because the adage: “hurt people, hurt people,” is very true. People lash out because they want others to feel what they are feeling, so others will understand their pain. Here’s the thing: no one can understand YOUR pain. It is YOUR pain. It is unique to you. And why would you want someone to feel as bad as you do when you are dealing with hurt? I certainly hope you would not which is why we are called to love at all times, under all circumstances, even when we have been hurt by someone, we thought loved us.
Loving takes a lot of courage, strength, and fortitude. It also takes a willing spirit to forgive when we have been hurt and then let the hurt go and not hang on to it, harboring it as we nurse grudges best let go. Choosing to love means we are choosing a harder path, we are choosing to be stronger than we are, we are choosing to do what is best and not what is selfish.
Love is definitely the better way.