top of page
Search

Love That Issues from a Pure Heart



“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”


1 Timothy 1:5

 

As I was sitting here this morning wondering how to fill the space allotted in my schedule for “reading and blogging”, I asked the Lord, “What the heck do you want me to think about?”


I began reflecting on my social encounters from the recent past identifying how deficiently kind my thoughts, words, and actions have been with regard to my anxiety surrounding acceptance. Acceptance. What a silly concept for someone who has so much for which to be thankful: a wife, many close friends among many different groups, tons of acquaintances. Why would I be so preoccupied by a desire to be accepted?

This desire really does color the manner by which the “me” in my head translates into the “me” that you and others experience. I sometimes say rude things trying to be clever or funny. I interrupt the flow of conversation with anecdotes and concepts relevant only to my internal monologue. I do whatever I can to create a space for me to feel comfortable as a plea for acceptance - feeling go in my own social skin. “But Tim, what does this have to do with 1 Timothy 1:5?”


The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.


When I think about my “charge”, I begin to inventory all the things that could be considered within the scope of my responsibility: my vocation, my house, my dog, my health, etc. More than that, I begin to think about all of the interactions I have with others (of any kind) in any given day. What is my charge? Specifically, what is my duty to fulfill within those interpersonal dynamics? I use the term “duty” lightly since it has somewhat of a sterile attribute. I prefer to frame duty as something that I am being trusted with to employ what I’m made of. Therefore, my charge is not quite a specific duty I have to fulfill but an opportunity to employ how I am designed within the opportunities that I am given.

I’d like to think that I am kind. 1 Corinthians 13 offers a template for love that can be used as a filter for our actions and motivations. Am I being patient? Am I insisting on my own way? Am I being kind? I think I really struggle with that last one. The “me” in my head plays through endless scenarios of how I can be kind to people. Unfortunately, my desire to be kind is often thwarted by my subconscious pursuit to be accepted. It’s almost as though another version of me, fully aware of what I would like to do and how I would like to value my opportunity in the moment, takes over and says, “Nope! You’re going to act out of character since who you are is not good enough, and being accepted is more important than being kind. Go ahead and make that crass joke. Take that jab that is only funny until it leaves your mouth. Better yet, maybe you shouldn’t say anything at all!”

Ugh.

You know, I used to think kindness was simple. It is when you navigate interpersonal situations with people pleasing. After all, a good person makes others happy right? I used to think so. But something I have learned is that before you can fully accept and be kind to others you have to begin with yourself. But how the heck does that translate? How are we supposed to make others happy with you - make them feel valued, seen, and heard - while treating yourself with likewise regard? I guess this is where the pure heart aspect of the verse comes into play.

Some people struggle to value themselves while others struggle to value others. I would like to think that we’re supposed to find a space in between where the standard isn’t quite as static as our black-and-white minds would like. What’s more is that there is a tempo and flow to interpersonal dynamics that calls for enough emotional intelligence to apply conflict, engage restraint, have patience, and (sometimes to our chagrin) believe the best about the other person. I really wish there was a simple answer. I think, however, that the beauty of relationships is the fact that they require us to be dynamic in order to be kind. Not only dynamic, but we must be honest and willing to take the time with others understanding that their value and that of our own are not in conflict. I think the trap we can often fall into is believing that our value is constantly being assaulted and that it is our responsibility to defend it at all costs.


The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.


One of the reasons that I decided to become a Christian is that I saw just how dysfunctional life is when my primary goal was getting to a point where the world would accept me. Honestly, it dominated almost every thought inspiring actions contrary to who I really wanted to be. I wanted peace and I wanted to be someone who helped others settle into a similar confidence about themselves. Much like Solomon but without the same success (hah), I began to see that a conquest for acceptance is all “vanity and chasing after to the wind.” I was never going to be satisfied. However, hearing about Jesus and how I am acceptable as I am changed something in me. It really just made the pieces fit.


Since childhood I had a vague concept what kindness really is but never had the language or experience to make it work. I spent years trying to reconcile the dissonance of Me Vs. You vacillating between being selfish and people pleasing. When I finally accepted that value is intrinsic and that our ability to be loved is something we can never be separated from, my charge became more readily clear: to accept others as I have been accepted. Doing so with a pure heart is knowing that both sides matter and, with time and endurance, each will be given proper care. A clear conscience comes from doing the work to understand my motivations allowing God to help me stay on track. And finally, sincere faith is trusting that while I or others don’t always act in accordance with who we are meant to be, we all have the capacity and a God who loves us enough to help us get there - we just need to enjoy the journey.

5 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page