“I’m not a smart man, Jenny, but I know what love is.”
That’s a line that will forever stick with me from Forrest Gump. That was, in my opinion, Hanks’ best work to date. That one sentence reminds me that love is not something we recognize with our minds. In Spanish, there are two words for “know”. One is saber and the other is conocer. Saber is knowledge of the mind. We would use that to say, “I know that there are four oranges in the basket.” Conocer is of knowledge of the heart or spirit (or perhaps experiential). We would use that to say, “I know that those oranges are delicious.”
I conocer that my parents love one another. I know it beyond a shadow of a doubt because I’ve seen it. I grew up in an unconvential household. That is, my parents are still married (nearly 33 years). I think that makes me and my sister a minority among millenials.
Every morning (for the past 33 years), my dad wakes up, makes coffee for him and my mother. About an hour later, my mom gets out of bed. They start making some sort of breakfast (even if it’s pop tarts) and they typically put some sort of finishing touches on their lunch for the day. They ride to work together, they work in the same office. They spend every single minute of every single day together. And they love it, because they love each other.
Then, they come home and make dinner. Typically dad works on the main course and mom works on the vegetables or bread. This is the way it’s been for 33 years. They work in the kitchen together and to see it, it truly is a work of beauty. They don’t get in each other’s way because they seem to conocer what each of the other’s next move is. When they’re in the kitchen, it’s almost an art form and the product is always delicious.
My parents love each other and I know that, not because of the words they tell one another but the way they act towards one another.
I have said this to preface a couple of conversations I’ve had on social media this week. I’ve been talking with some folks about what it means to be Christian. We’ve even asked and answered (with many different opinions) how one would know you were a Christian without your saying so.
In the 13th Chapter of John, Jesus says they will know we are His disciples by our love. This verse is my cornerstone for my Christian faith (if I had to pick one).
In his letter to the Corinthians Paul says, if we have music, if we have prophecy, if we have preaching or teaching, but not have love, we are worthless.
The Prophet Ezekiel (c. 16) tells of a place called Sodom that was destroyed because they were a wealthy town that did not have love for the poor and needy.
In the 2nd Chapter of the Revelation of John, Jesus speaks to the Church at Ephesus. “You have done good things. You persevere. You have no tolerance for the wicked. But the love you had at first, you no longer have. Come back to the love, or I will remove your lampstand from you.”
I repent. I have not loved loudly. I have not been the man God has called me to. The more Scripture I read, the more of my own desolation, I see.
I am an enemy of God every time I react harshly to a well meant facebook post.
I am an enemy of God every time I use my words to tear down a man or woman who has called by God.
I am an enemy of God every time I call someone whose ministry God is obviously blessing a heretic.
But I am a friend of God on those rare occasions when I act in love towards those who are hard for me to love.
On those rare occasions that I act in love towards those I disagree with theologically, I am a friend of God.
Here’s to my falling back in love with the Creator and being His friend again.