Love hopes all things. Now, you may be asking what’s the difference between last week’s post Love Believes All Things and this topic as I’ve been asking the past three days. I think this important delineation can be found in a story here.
I’ve had some interesting friends. One friend in particular always had new stories. But, you knew that half of them were completely made up, while the other half were half true. However, he would give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it. Now, on one occasion I had gotten word that he’d crossed a line that most friends don’t cross. I talked to him and he denied it. This happened again and I was left with the dilemma of what seemed a recurring theme. I wanted to believe him, to assume he’d never cross that line. However, my hope in him was shaken and I cut ties.
Well, a man ain’t ashamed of the things that he’s done. My past is my past, that’s where I came from.
“My Love Is My Love” — Peter Bradley Adams
Hope is belief in the future. In a world of financial scams and general mistrust, this doesn’t happen. I think we’d all say we hope for a better future, but the word we really mean is wish. We cognitively believe there is better on the horizon, but we’ve seen too much of the past to think it probable. This is not hope, friends. This is not love. Love can’t continue in the way of a loan officer.
Leave room for grace. We’ve swung a long way from the days of “turn the other cheek”. Sure, we’re no longer trying to be doormats, but we’re still no closer to following the example of Christ. We need to use wisdom here, but everyone who wrongs us (given enough time, everyone will) does not necessarily fall into a pattern of transgression. We cannot rate people in our lives on a relationship credit score. The moment we do that, we’re actually telling God that He shouldn’t have taken a chance in us as we’re only going to fall back into our wicked ways as well.
The hearts of men are evil. Yes, this is undoubtedly true. But, let’s remember the definition of evil here is anything short of God. This doesn’t mean that everyone walking around this rock is looking for the next baby to murder. That was a bit extreme, but I think you get my point. On some level, everyone wants to be good. Some of us just aren’t very good at expressing that. All of us are broken and we need to expect that when we choose to love. Relationships, like the people that comprise them, are broken pieces of work in progress.
Hope is more than a fragile wish for the future. Hope is a wholehearted belief that a situation, person, group is capable and desiring of more. Hope is the knife that looses others from the rope tying them to the boulders of their past weighing them down. Hope is what allows us to move forward in life and, more importantly, bring others along with us for the ride. Without hope, we are all marooned alone on separate islands miles from anything. Let grace abound today, because as it was meant to, love hopes all things.