One of the most renowned Philosophers in America is a man named John D. Caputo. In his book What Would Jesus Deconstruct?, Caputo tells what truly makes Jesus so outstanding is that he engages in what Caputo calls “Hyper-reality”, the reality behind the reality. “Hyper-reality” for Jesus, is what makes the impossible, possible. Yesterday, I mentioned that I don’t think its possible to truly follow Jesus until a person truly loves themselves. Once a person can begin loving themselves, then they can begin loving others. But, what if a person is truly unlovable?
Sometimes, it seems impossible to love another human being. Sometimes, it seems impossible to forgive another human being. There are somethings in life that we deem unlovable, unforgivable. Jesus makes statements like “If you love those who love you, what reward is there in that? Even the sinners/tax collectors do that.” Jesus constantly brings parables where the hero in the story is a person that would be labeled an enemy, an outcast, a person who is not socially acceptable. Someone unlovable. Yet, Jesus found a way to move towards them and offered them the gifts of grace, community and love. This is the lifestyle of Christ. A person who has an imagination for things unimaginable. A heart for the broken and heartless.
I heard a saying a few years ago that I believe is true “broken people break people.” This is why I believe all love must begin on conditional love. Conditional love makes room for unconditional love. Temporary love makes space for eternal love. What makes room for two people to fall in love. It’s some form of attraction, friendship and connection. All of which can fade with the fading of infatuation. Once you grow past the comforts of attraction, you become used to the person and the mystery of the relationship is gone, its easy to jump ship because that “spark” isn’t there anymore. Yet, that sustainable factor of self-sacrificial love, the love through mutual commitment gives away to eternal love. This is why people should get married. This is also why people need boundaries from each other. Some people are going to break you. We need boundaries to help us love those who are not lovable. We need boundaries to help us forgive people who have done unforgivable things.
To love your neighbor is to move toward loving all things. This requires radical self-love. But, if that is constantly being abused, neglected and betrayed, after a while those are the same things we give away. Loving your neighbor might mean walking away from the husband that beats you. Loving your neighbor might mean walking away from the drug addict who is using and abusing everyone around them. Loving everyone, requires radical commitment to conditionality. So that one can hopefully move into unconditional love, unconditional friendship, unconditional romance. This is what made Jesus so extraordinary. He loved everyone, without losing himself. He loved everyone, when it seemed impossible.