The UUA has a program through “Standing On The Side Of Love” called “Thirty Days of Love.” Each day for a month I will receive an email with a message that relates to the theme. I was struck by one of the recent ones in which a young adult UU woman tells a story of growth and courage in which she learned to listen to her heart and reason, instead of blindly following hate. She had grown up in a faith tradition that condemned LGBT persons, but when she married and came to Unitarian Universalism she learned what love really is. She recognized how important separation of Church and State is and that equality is not determined by someone’s opinion, but is a basic human right.
As I thought about her story I realized that we often make decisions about what is fair or right based on our personal biases. We look to champion what fits our beliefs and opinions and sometimes blindly leave out a portion of humanity. There was a time when women were not considered people and it was only all men who were entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And there was a time when persons of color were not entitled to the rights that Euro Americans were. Some people still feel that way, but at least under the Constitution it is no longer true. Years ago, certain ethnicities were not considered part of “all humanity” or even “all men.” Signs were posted in store windows baldly stating, “no Irish need apply.”
All of these instances could only come about if the people involved were unwilling to view the world from a stance of love. If we approach the world with love we know that we can’t deny one person some benefit or privilege that we offer to any other simply because they fall in a different demographic category. If we approach the world with love we will look for the good parts of a person and work to find not only justice and equity for them, but to live in right relationship with them. Unconditional love does not ask us to permit abuse, or to have no standard of behavior that we call people to, but it does require us to give people the benefit of the doubt, to forgive them when they recognize a wrong they have committed and decide to correct it, and to approach others with a generous heart.
I know that some people find Valentine’s Day to be trite — a commercial holiday — but I wonder if, in the midst of candy, hearts, and flowers, there is a kernel of truth that we might all make a part of our lives. In lots of classrooms, the rule is that you must give a valentine to everyone if you are going to participate in the celebration. What would the world be like if we made a commitment to approach everyone with love, in stead of only offering a loving response to those we like We could start right here at UUCA — we could commit to a motto that I try to make a part of my life ‘we don’t come to church to find the people we love; we come to church to love the people we find.’ Maybe if we succeed at that we can find the courage to take it out into the rest of the world.
The article that was part of “Thirty Days of Love” says, “Love is never wrong.” I like that idea!