Monday, August 25, 2008

Can we love too much?

Originally posted on MennoDiscuss, answering the question, "Is it possible to love someone too much?"

Honestly, we all suffer from loving too little. We are too caught up in our own needs, more often than not (even if that need is a compulsion to help others). The Bible says that if we really love God, then we will love others, and that should never be in conflict. Our usual problem is not loving others too much but loving others in a way that is not love at all.

I know of a woman who loved her adult son so much that whenever he was in need, she would always be there for him. Whenever he needed money, she would provide it. Whenever he needed housing, she would always give it. Whatever he wanted, she was there. And so he became an emotional mess, serverly depressed, never able to provide for himself, a user of drugs and of people because he felt that others were there to help him overcome his suffering. She didn't love her son enough. Not because she didn't care for him, but because all she could see was her role as "mother who provided everything" rather than seriously looking at him to see what he really needed.

True love provides for one's need. But our human needs can be complex.

At times we need to be cared for. At times we need to be left alone to fend for ourselves.
At times we need to listened to. At times we need to listen to God.
At times we need a pat on the back. At times we need to be rebuked.
At times we need free food. At times we need an opportunity to work.
At times we need sex. At times we need abstinence.
At times we need corporate worship. At times we need a silent retreat.

Love is providing for another what they need, when they need it. True love is knowing someone well enough to provide what they really need when they really need it.

No comments: