Monday, 14 May 2018

'Commanded' to love?

In the gospel we hear Jesus 'commanding' his disciples to love one another. 
This is my commandment: Love one another. 
Can anyone really command another to love?  If love is an emotion and a feeling that is spontaneous and cannot always be rationalized then how can one be commanded to love?  

Two aspects:  
  1. Jesus always preached.  He never commanded or went about burdening others with his authority, certainly not those less fortunate than himself.  So it would be right to say that there are only two things he really 'commanded', in comparison to the rest of his teaching that he exhorted: Love God.  Love one another.  Perhaps it is to emphasize the core of what he was and wanted to communicate.  
  2. Love is not primarily an emotion or a feeling or something that we can now have and later discard as per our convenience, the ambiance, or profit.  It is a decision.  A conscious choice we make to place the well-being of someone over and above our own.  It is a concrete move to ensure the welfare of the other.  Therefore it is possible that I can love someone even if I do not like the person.  Therefore when I love, I feel 'compelled'.  Furthermore what greater 'compulsion' to follow the 'command' of the one I love! 

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