The Bewildered World

The love for equals is a human thing–
of friend for friend, brother for brother.
It is to love what is loving and lovely.
The world smiles.

The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing–
the love for those who suffer,
for those who are poor,
the sick, the failures, the unlovely.
This is compassion,
and it touches the heart of the world. 

The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing–
to love those who succeed where we fail,
to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice,
the love of the poor for the rich,
of the black man for the white man.
The world is always bewildered by its saints.

And then there is the love for the enemy–
love for the one who does not love you
but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain.
The tortured’s love for the torturer.
This is God’s love.
It conquers the world.
~Frederick Buechner
from The Magnificent Defeat

Christ’s example is showered on me
every time I am shown love
when I deserve none~
even when I am selfish or cruel,
unfeeling or hurtful
and yet I am loved nevertheless.

Christ’s love acts through me every time
I forgive,
show mercy,
extend grace
even when I am hurt and bleeding.

I pray God’s conquering love for His enemies will disarm me,
rendering me helpless to protest,
girding me with gratitude,
sinking me into submission.

My darkness is overtaken by His illuminating Spirit.

A book of illumination in word and photography – available to order here:

One thought on “The Bewildered World

  1. Both comments here, first by Buechner, and then yours, dear Emily, are gratifying and should be much sought after by the God-loving soul. It is the last ‘love. however’ — love for our enemies – that is definitely a tough one for me. I do not deny that it is nearly impossible for me to love the child predator/abuser, the racist(s) who destroy the hopes and dreams for full inclusion in a society for those of color or belief by those persons and governments who destroy multitudes by genocide and by repressive legislative fiat. There are others, of course, noticeably those that confront us daily in our present government and by individuals in our society. Most are not new; they have existed within our society for decades.

    I have made a copy of your comment, Emily to keep taped on my bedroom mirror. as a reminder
    that I must not deny love, or even forgiveness, to those whom I believe do not deserve either action for the terrible actions they have committed upon other persons (including myself). This is,
    and will always be through the provenance of our righteous God alone.
    Through earnest prayer, I will seek God’s Grace to give me the moral strength and will to do as He
    has done, and continues to do for us (each of us) sinners. This is the ONLY way that I could ever
    do this!

    Liked by 1 person

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