Love is a decision, a decision that God blesses. I still remember an experience I had several years ago. I was asked to give a day of renewal at Saranac Lake, New York. It comprised a couple of talks. I spoke about love and forgiveness, and how they are both primarily decisions and not feelings. When I was finished, a young woman came up to speak with me. She told me that she had listened carefully to what I had said, and was wondering if the Lord had meant the day's word very specifically for her. She explained her situation.
She was ten years married and had three children. But, as so often happens in this troubled day of ours, she and her spouse were having a rough time making a go of the marriage. She had no feelings left for him, she said. “In fact,” she told me, “I can't stand the sight of him.” She went on to explain that they were both now in the process of consulting lawyers and would be separating shortly. She didn't feel comfortable doing it, she said, in the light of her commitment to see it through for better or for worse, but there seemed to be no alternative. “But,” she went on, “I heard what you said, and I am going to give it just one more chance. I'm going home, and I'm going to begin to say and to do the loving thing no matter how I feel. I don't know if I really believe that the Lord can do anything about it, but he's welcome to try.” I left her, promising to keep her in prayer.
It was a year and a half later before I heard anything further. It came in the form of a letter. The testimony was very impressive. She had done precisely as she had said she would. She had begun to say and to do loving things despite her very negative feelings. “It wasn't easy,” she said, “but I stuck with it.” It worked. The relationship, after a while, began to heal.
“Now,” she wrote, “although I would not have thought it possible I could ever have said it again, I can truly say that I actually love the guy.”
She had made the Lord's decision, and he had come to work to deal with her feelings.
The Lord's way works. He calls us to love one another, especially those who are closest to us, the ones who often are the most difficult to love. When we make the decision and do it, he blesses it.