I Am Not Sure of Love
(by Kenneth G. Phifer, from A Book of Uncommon Prayer)
O Lord, I live in a world of angry men and women. I am often angry myself at threats to my values, at brutal disregard for the institutions I hold dear.
Where do I belong in such a world?
Where does the Lord Jesus belong?
Is love weak, too weak to be creative?
Is compassion sheer sentiment?
Is this a time to be hard and tough?
My emotions tell me so some of the time.
Then at other times I see Him moving amid the shadows of history.
I see Him angry, too, at evidences of injustice and mistreatment of His fellow men.
I hear Him lash out at self-righteousness and complacency.
I watch Him at last, when the anger is done and the sharp words said, stake His life on love and self-sacrifice.
I behold Him die and hear Him say,
"Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing."
And, somehow God, deep inside me I know love is not weak; it is I who am weak.
Love is indomitable and irresistible.
Hate is weakness.
Vengeance is futile, and violence is self-defeating.
Help me, for it is hard to stand by what I do know deep inside.
It is so much easier to curse than to bless.
It is easier to pronounce maledictions than to pronounce benedictions.
It is easier to shout others down than to sit down with others.
It is easier to be loud than to listen.
O God of all people, who does not separate us into good and bad but into loving and unloving.
I need your help lest I tear things up.
You have offered to help me, I know, and I hold back.
Can you push me a little harder?
I want to be more loving and I am afraid.
Hear my prayer.
Make my commitments to love more than good intentions.