Saturday, December 17, 2016

To Be Trusted and Also to Love

I hear a quote cited every once in a while.  David O. McKay once cited it in a talk he gave.  It was written by the theologian George MacDonald and appears in his book, The Marquis of Lossie.

I think it is often misunderstood.  I'll have to read the book in order to be sure, but from the writings of his that I have read, I think that MacDonald is thinking about reassurance to those who have made decisions that have been based upon their commitment to love of God and to their covenants with  Him (including love of neighbor) and who, when they made those decision, have been condemned by others who are important to them.   And I think he was also writing to those who are facing the dilemma of having to choose between keeping their covenants, with love, and pleasing or having their actions understood someone whose love is conditioned upon their choosing to be or do something different.

Unfortunately, I hear this quote sometimes used to justify hard-hearted covenant keeping; the kind that causes one to think, consciously or unconsciously, "I will do A, being trustworthy to what I think God requires, and everyone who wants me do differently than A be damned.  I will choose to do this noble thing and who cares about those who do not agree."

And they miss the whole point that the first two things that God trusts us to do are his first two commandments; love God and love others.

I think it is human nature, when one is condemned or grossly misunderstood for doing what one thinks is right, to harden your heart towards the person who objects in order to lesson the pain of that condemnation and accusation.  But that is not what Christ expects of us.

And so one of the ways I can watch over my own discipleship is by watching not only whether God can trust me to keep my covenants of ministry, charity, repentance, faith, fidelity, sacrifice, diligence and consecration, but also, at the same time, whether He can trust me to keep my heart loving wisely with to patience, non-judgmentalism, love and forgiveness in my interactions with others, particularly those who disagree with, misunderstand or condemn me for my ideas, opinions or choices.

Not perfect at it.  But that's what I hope.

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