As a pastor, one of my primary concerns is to care for those who God has placed in my life, to see to the long-term wellbeing of these precious people. My calling is not to change them, but to create an environment that is rich in love and acceptance – an environment that reminds them of their value, their freedom and just how much they are loved. In such an environment, people are free to explore within themselves, and if they choose, with God, areas of transformation that they deem desirable. Should we see areas of transformation, this is awesome and we will all celebrate. Should they choose to delay addressing some issues or decide not to at all, love remains and is not diminished in the slightest. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not demand its own way. Love is life-giving. Love is attractive and inviting. We are all invited into the embrace of Love and welcomed into the Eternal Dance – the perichoresis that God has enjoyed within Godself from before the beginning.”
– Pastor Nar
I agree with Pastor Nar’s grace-based view of loving people as they are, and that even if people don’t change, our love remains unchanged because as we know, unconditional love accepts people for who they are and not for what they will become. And as we learnt in an earlier post, unconditional love begins with loving ourselves unconditionally, before we can love others the same way.
Like what the header of this post says, we are our own physician, as Jesus said, “physician, heal thyself”, and the more we heal ourselves by cultivating unconditional love towards ourselves and embracing ourselves especially when we don’t like something about ourselves, the more of a healer we become who minister grace and healing to others.
As the saying goes, “loved people love people, and hurt people hurt people.” When we see people hurting, that is when we see that they are in need of loving all the more because they have inadvertently allowed society and religion to rob them of their sense of true identity and belonging. We can help send our love energy towards them through our words or thoughts, whether near or from afar.
“God always entices us through love. Most of us were taught that God would love us if, and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change, is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change. If the mystics say that one way, they say it a thousand ways. But because most of our common religion has not been at the mystical level, we’ve been given an inferior message—that God loves you “when” you change (“moralism”).
It puts it all back on you, which is the opposite of being “saved.” Moralism leads you back to “navel-gazing” and you can never succeed at that level. You are never holy enough, pure enough, refined enough, or loving enough. Whereas, when you fall into God’s mercy, when you fall into God’s great generosity, you find, seemingly from nowhere, this capacity to change. No one is more surprised than you are. You know it is a gift.”
– Richard Rohr
Yes, such is the empowering love of God, and we simply can rest in His love without ever worrying about having to change, for love produces the transformation effortlessly.