The Christian Bible is more than a religious book; it is as well a thorough guide to meaningful living. That is why many non-Christians read and even love this book of books – The Bible. Ask the Hindu-Indian Mahatma Gandhi and he would let you into the profound influence the life of Jesus Christ of Nazareth had on him, especially as it related to his campaign against the then English Regime in India. And with the employ of civil disobedience, characterized by nonviolence, he saw his countrymen to not just a moral victory but political freedom. Frankly, the Holy Bible is dope! Very good, I mean.
Love is the fever! And in search of love, we contract next to all forms of relationships, especially friendship, courtship leading to marriage. We crave to feature No. 1 on another’s list of the very important human beings in their life. We feel on-top-of-the-world when we know for a fact that a fellow human being can take a bullet for us, given that our natural programming is self-preservation and selfishness.
But love is a peculiar experience. I’m not an expert here, but I’m human enough to feel it, and then to say it. I’m not so experienced here, but I’m experienced enough to share something about love. Love is such that every person is free to fire it at any other person he/she pleases. Here’s how the drama of love happens: “A” fires at “B.” And given that “B” is as free as “A” to fire in any direction, “B” fires at “C” – not back to “A.” What do we observe? “A” gets nothing from his/her object of love, because “B” is crazily in love with “C.” And guess what? While “A” is busy trying to get through to “B,” who is trying to woo “C,” a certain “D” is firing at “B-obsessed-A” from his/her end. For me, this is the comedy of love; it is very funny.
Are you complaining that the one you’re in love with doesn’t even care if you exist or not? You probably know why now. He/she just happens to be firing in another direction; he/she loves another – or just doesn’t love you or anyone yet. To be loved back is not automatic, else we would all be madly in love with Jesus who loved us so much and died for us – but we’re all not. It’s just too rare to find two people fire love at each other simultaneously from the word go.
I’d kick-started with some praise for the Christian Bible. It comes in handy to help us out of this situation. Not just this situation, but next to every other situation we may find ourselves in life. Yes, the Bible has acquired this reputation, integrity, and has proven it over a span of 2,000 years.
John 13:23 and four other instances in the gospel of John talks of the one Jesus loved. Some quarters of thought respectively identify this “beloved of Jesus” with John Zebedee, Lazarus of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene. It’s not my intent to go into this, but to highlight that Jesus fired his love at them – at least John and Lazarus were clearly portrayed in this “beloved” light.
There is a second side to “Jesus’ love life”: the one that loved Him most, Mary of Magdala. Do you remember the woman that washed His feet with her tears, wiped the tears with her hair, and anointed it with an alabaster jar of costly ointment, so costly that it got Judas’ tongue wagging? She hung around at the crucifixion. And John accounts that she was the first to show up at the empty tomb on the resurrection morning, and also the first to behold the Risen Lord. Do you remember this conversion? Woman, why are you weeping? They’ve taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they’ve laid him. …Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve laid him, and I will take him away. Lo and behold it was Jesus! Rabonni, she called him – Teacher.
We glean one very significant point from this episode: the most important revelation in human history, that Christ lives, was first ever made to “the one who loved” Jesus before the “one or ones loved” by Jesus.
And then it got down to time for real business, to establish succession for his saving work, Jesus turns to Peter, in the presence of “Beloved John” and asked him three times: “Simon, Son of John, do you love me?” In fact, the first of the three seemingly same questions bore this variant: “…more than these others?” And Simon did love Him to his last breath, and said: “Lord I love you, and you know it, you know all things.” Don’t forget that John the Beloved was there present while this conversation lasted; he didn’t protest. Perhaps he himself knew that although Jesus loved him most, he didn’t love Jesus back as much as Simon did. Isn’t it a pointer to the fact that those that love us are more dependable when the die is cast? Does common sense not dictate that those we love – but don’t love us back – will either take our business for granted or abandon us for those they love after all is said and done?
On the whole, I’m not suggesting that those we love are not worth featuring in our serious businesses such as marriage. I’m far from that! I’m only suggesting, inspired by the above exposition, that they should only come into the picture after they’ve confessed their love for us or settled in to reciprocate our love for them.
It is also important to note that who loved first is not as important as who loved last; the one who loves last might love best. My point is simple: we may need to, and, in fact, take the responsibility of initiating the love relationship. And then patiently love on. Loving back is a choice and a journey, and like every journey, it happens within the context of time. Give it time; you decide how long. And be wise enough to know when time’s up, so you don’t keep trying to raise the dead. But if the initiation comes from the other person, don’t be too blind to see, and then to reciprocate after taking due diligence.
Finally, the question remains: “Who do you get to choose between the “one you love” and the “one who loves you”? Having explained things to this point, I leave the answer to you. But bear in mind: He who loves loves best.