Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 1 John 3:18 NRSV
It may come as a shock for me to suggest that the majority of people’s love is unreal. Why is that? Because, for the most part, what they are loving is a facade. The people they are seeking to love are putting on a false front. They will not allow their true self to be seen for fear of being rejected, so they pretend to be something they are not.
On the other hand, however, a great majority of people really don’t care to know the true self of another.
They want lovely and loveable people.
They want people that are easy to love.
They want people who who won’t place demands on them.
And so everyone plays a great game of pretend and call it love.
It’s interesting that things really aren’t this way among the poor. With the poor, what you see is what you get. They cannot readily hide who they are. What they are is open, raw, and often times scary. You either love them or you don’t The middle ground is completely taken away. This is where genuine love can be seen in all its beauty. Maybe that’s why the King has a special soft spot in His heart for the poor.
How do we counteract all the pretense? We have to give people permission to be themselves. We have to portray the attitude that they will be loved no matter what lies beneath the surface. When they know we can be trusted, they will eventually come out of hiding. This alone will allow them to slough off their old identity formed by their fears, their wounds, and their sins, and truly step into their new identity in Christ. Genuine love will bring everyone into true freedom when we are living in the Reign.