Do you remember this song by Sting: If You Love Somebody Set Them Free? I think the premise of the song is we need to love freely and without condition. The minute we put conditions or controls on that love, we’re in trouble. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
According to the Linns’ book, Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life, God’s will is always for me to give and receive more love. We should love freely. There should be no conditions on it. I get that, but in reality, this is not always easy. Oh, we hear in church how we should just love everybody, and we nod in agreement. Yes, of course. Love. Got it. But what happens when love is hard? Or it isn’t returned? Or it is returned but not in the way we wish it was? What if we put ourselves out there with our love, and it flops? What then? Does this make any sense?
Maybe an example will help. I have a friend who recently moved away. She is having trouble keeping in touch with the friends she still has here. Suddenly, her friends are too busy to call or put the effort in that it takes to keep a long distance relationship going. She is debating what to do. Let go of the friendship (set it free) and see what happens? Or hang in there and continue to work at it?
I don’t know if there is an easy answer. Fear gets in our way. Love can be a scary business. There is trepidation when we put ourselves out there and don’t know what will happen. We could get hurt. So it’s easy to let fear creep in and make our decisions. But it doesn’t leave space for God’s help. We are called to let God in and love. A free life is one where we give and receive more love. It’s loving as we are free to love. Gratitude when it is returned. Not fearing the outcome of that love. Risking the vulnerability and loving anyway. This is no easy task, but there is comfort knowing God is there in the midst of it.
How do we do this, to love so freely? It seems like prayer goes a long way with matters of the heart. If God wills for us to be these love machines, inputting and outputting love freely, then God will help us do it. Trust that. Whatever we decide in our relationships, the loving choice seems to be the right choice. Even if it’s the hard one. Sometimes the loving choice is letting go and seeing what happens. Sometimes it means hanging in there with love, even if it’s not the way we imagined it to be. Maybe the loving choice is waiting. Waiting for an answer. Waiting for a peace to be felt. Waiting for God’s answer to come. I believe it always comes when love is involved.
What do you think? Talk it over with God. See if Sting sings true for you!