Behold, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).
We talked about the man’s wife all afternoon. He tried to analyze the broken relationship which had grown between them during the weeks before our visit. The man wanted to understand the trouble, get to the bottom of whatever the misunderstanding was, and work it out. He was persistent in his analysis of the situation, as if insight would immediately release him to do whatever would be necessary for a reconciliation. He wanted to find the key which would unlock the frustration. His wife was acting coldly and angrily, but he could not locate how it had begun or what the contributing factors had been.
I felt guided to ask a question. “What would you do if you could never find the cause?” “Well,” he said, “I suppose I would have to love her and affirm her anyway.” “Exactly!” I said. “Then why not love her in spite of your lack of insight over what has gone wrong? Is your love conditioned on insight? Do you love her only when you have things straightened out and everything analyzed carefully? Could it be that you are deadlocked in the necessity of talking things out in order to love rather than loving in order to be able to talk freely again?”
Have you ever had this problem? We all have! Each of us can picture some person from whom we are estranged and communication is broken. Do we dare to set our own feelings aside to affirm the other person?
That night the man went home and acted as he would if he had clearly understood the situation. His wife responded. Communication was reestablished. To this day he does not know what was wrong. He doesn’t need to know now! Not even his demand to understand broke his desire to love unconditionally. Often people react because of physical and psychological frustrations which they don’t understand. Our insistence on insight often cripples the healing process.
Love is not always conditioned on insight or analysis.