This week saw the heart-wrenching but soon giddy final episode of The Bachelorette. Rachel Lindsay wrestled through her priorities and desires and decided she was in love with Bryan Abasolo. She did not want to continue her relationship with Peter Kraus, whom many had thought she would choose. Though it was painful to watch her and Peter have that final DTR talk, everyone became ecstatic when she accepted Bryan’s proposal. It looked like both Rachel and Bryan knew what they wanted and they went for it. They chose each other.
No matter how technological, impersonal, or emotional our world may get, it’s still true about love: love is a choice.
In romance, in workplaces, in families and neighborhoods and between complete strangers, love is a choice.
People talk about falling in love at first sight like they’re falling into a pothole.
Love at first sight is not that common, though Hollywood popularizes it. Research shows that men tend to report that phenomenon more often, it is supposed, because they tend to be more visual in their interactions with the world.
Though many believe one can fall in love at first sight, few manage to pull it off. It’s as if all the momentum propelling an instant emotional connection and a physical arousal is the biggest factor in connecting with another soul romantically. Yet, in the end, love is really a choice.
I choose who I fall in love with, and why.
I choose who I care for, and how.
Love, whether romantic or platonic, whether between family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, or someone you pass by on the street, is always a choice.
Why is that?
It is because love must be chosen to be effective, compelling, and willingly reciprocated.
We love God, because He first loved us. Remember His telling us this in 1 John 4:16?
We believed it and started following Him. That led us to honor, praise, and obey Him.
As followers of the risen Christ, the Lord Himself is our model. He chose to love us.
We were not so physically beautiful and emotionally irresistible to Him that He had to pick us. We had nothing to offer Him. John 2:24 reveals that the Lord did not entrust Himself to the sea of humanity around Him because He knew what was in the shallow, fickle heart of mankind. At our core, we’re not much different today.
There was nothing intrinsically good and righteous in us that would compel Him to select us for salvation. Isaiah 64:6 declared that our righteousness before we came His disciples was like a big, filthy, disgusting, smelly, saturated menstrual pad, to use today’s vernacular.
He chose us because He loved us. That’s it. End of questions.
This gives us hope because, unlike the love Rachel and Bryan developed for each other in a short period of time based on what they saw in the other person, we know we could not earn—or “unearn”—His eternal love for us.
He saw us exactly for who we were and who we are. Before we even knew Who He was, He knew all about our sins, imperfections, mistakes, addictions, and poor decisions. He still chose us before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4.
If He chose us, and we are remade in His image, we can choose to love others.
We don’t have to wait for emotions to drive us, or someone else’s unworthiness to remove itself from our field of vision, before we choose to love someone.
That’s a difficult transition, I know. I love to focus on how much He loves me.
I don’t like to think about my choosing to love someone else if I don’t think they treat me right or they’re unlovable. Yet I, like you, must choose to love someone based on God’s love for me.
It doesn’t excuse their sin or their poor behavior toward us. God’s power within “simply” frees us to love others the way we have been loved by Him.
The next time we see so-and-so coming and we sigh and think I just can’t deal with him/her one more day remind yourself of how much our attitude cost Jesus.
Ask Him to help you see them from His perspective.
And pray He will give you His heart and His love for them.
Because we can always choose to love the person we don’t like.
It may not change them right away, but it will certainly change you. I have had to do this so many times I have lost count. I do get how hard it is.
However, if He called us to it, He will get us through it.
It’s still true about love: love is a choice.
Choose this day whom you will serve: self, or Love. Love is the better master.