I am so sick and tired of the "real love is showing people their errors to bring them to truth" idea. I've been on the receiving end of that plenty of times: "I love you, I really do, which is why I'm telling you that you're wrong." And yet, my brain still agrees with it. I'm still mired in the logic that, for someone coming from a Christian worldview, the highest form of love to them is "speaking the truth in love" - trying to bring them back to the fold.
I recently read Sierra's excellent series on homophobia, and a paragraph in the last section bowled me over. It's something I want to believe so badly. It's something, V admits, that she's felt for awhile, but could never articulate to me. Sierra writes:
"Unconditional love does not mean loving someone while disapproving of their actions. It means forsaking the right to disapprove. You cannot love who I am and hate what I do. What I do shows you who I am. If you choose to love a figment of your imagination, some idea of who I might become, then you love only your own mind, and what you hate is me."
I love that. "Forsaking the right to disapprove." But always in my head is my father's voice, the pastor of my youth, explaining why the world is wrong. Explaining that the truest form of love is concern for someone's well-being, now and in the hereafter, and so we must take care of people even when they don't think they need it.
That last sentence, now that I write it, does reek of selfishness. But the underlying idea is still wedged in my head. According to my brain, my father is completely right to try to "correct" me. So is my cousin who sent me a facebook message. Clarification: I don't think their ideas are right, nor am I in any danger of listening too closely. But I think they are well within their rights to say they love me, and then follow it with what they do.
So you see why that paragraph I quoted above gives me such joy and such stress at the same time. I absolutely love that idea. Forsaking disapproval. But I can't accept it as true. Maybe it's the last holdout of my upbringing. Maybe it's my pessimistic nature. Maybe it's just the section of my brain that my father inhabits. I don't know.