Rebellious Love

Xmas heart wreath
We are a culture that likes to hold a grudge. Not everyone, of course, but there is a vast majority who thrive on “an eye for an eye” mindset and will go to great lengths to ensure that a wrong is righted.

To be rebellious, one acts in or shows opposition or disobedience to some accepted way of being. Here I am referring to social mores, customs, opinions, even religious beliefs. Most people wouldn’t blame someone for acting out of resentment for some wrong done to them.

Compare the struggle between right and wrong, good and evil even, to a game of tug of war. Each side struggles in the name of their perception of what’s fair. What if . . . one person, in a moment of clarity and love, sees the battle as unnecessary and views the opponent enveloped in a halo of love. What a rebellious change of thought. He releases the rope. In the letting go, the supposed opponent falls backwards as the tension dissolves. What happens to the opponent? He may trudge off in a huff of anger. Or, maybe, a change, an epiphany, a paradigm shift of what just happened. Maybe this rebellious act of love might stretch the heart muscle a bit to experience forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance, kindness – and yes, especially love.

Pittsburgh, Pa, October 27, 2018. Ari Mahler, a Jewish nurse at Allegheny General Hospital, acted upon love as he treated Robert Bowers, the injured murderer of eleven Jews as they worshipped at The Tree of Life Synagogue.

“Love. That’s why I did it … Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope,” Mahler wrote. “. . . If my actions mean anything, love means everything.”

Nickel Mines, PA, October 2, 2006. Charles Roberts storms into a one-room schoolhouse and shoots ten young Amish girls, killing five of them. What was the rebellious act of love that transformed this abominable, unforgivable crime? Love and forgiveness. The Amish community publicly forgave the killer, donated money to the murderer’s widow and children and many even attended his funeral. These selfless acts of love stunned the outside world.

Jerusalem, circa 33 A.D. Whether you regard Jesus as a teacher, historical figure or the messiah, he spoke of a new covenant with God. The vengeful, jealous God of the Old Testament is depicted by Jesus as a God of love. When asked what is the greatest commandment of the Law, his answer was to love God with all your heart, and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself. In the brutal and cruel world of Jesus’ time, what a rebellious thought it is to respond to life with love.

This holiday season and throughout the year, be a rebel and respond to life and all of its sometimes crazy madness with love. See the child of God, not the sinner. People will witness. Evolution might happen.