Have you ever asked yourself why human love is usually wavering, not long-lived, or not everlasting?
To me, the conversation between Jesus and Peter (John 21:15-19) clearly reveals the answer to this question, a question that I always asked myself every time someone walked out of my life, or when I talked to a single parent who had a bitter divorce, or when a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend killed his/her loved one out of anger and hatred.
In John 21:15-19, Jesus asked Peter, whom he loved dearly three times, “Peter, do you love me?” instead of “Peter, why did you betray me?” or “Peter, why did you hurt me?”
Let’s think of the way he asked Peter during their ups and downs relationship: He asked in a way that Peter would be able to answer the question without feeling embarrassed, confused, or guilty. He treated Peter the way everyone would want to be treated. With such a question, the response is usually, “I love you!” instead of “Leave me alone!” or “You think you are better?”, or “I hate you!”, or “You make me tired. I am leaving!” or “I don’t want to talk about it.” etc….
Jesus’ patience, love and kindness toward Peter when he sinned against Him was the reason why Peter “wept bitterly” when he realized what he had done to Jesus. As a result, Peter’s love for Jesus grew so strong that he wanted to die for Him, and only for Him!!! You see, the key to open the door of a long lasting relationship is in our own hand. However, sometimes our unkind words create such a twisted, chipped and bent key that makes it impossible to open the door!
Unlike Jesus, when someone hurts me, I want to know WHY. I would go to the person and ask why this and why that. I would make the person feel LOW and unworthy. I would want to hear the person’s apology and promise. As a result, the person would walk out of my life for feeling unaccepted and unloved. That is when I begin to say to myself the same old line, “Human love never lasts!” Although, sometimes, this statement is true, experience proves that human love can be everlasting if we do what Jesus did to Peter.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”(Lao Tzu) Indeed, LOVE gives you strength and courage. It keeps bringing us back and makes us stay forever in the sea of LOVE!
Sister Marie Luu Van, SCC
Note: See also the reflection “I have come to love what I did not”