Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

How Love can Change Us

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What do you love?

I love hot fudge, double brownie, chocolate, caramel sundaes.
I love a good book.
I love it when things work out the way I hoped.
I love my children.
I love watching football on a crisp autumn day.
I love my wife.
I love feeling loved.

In his book The Wisdom of the Desert (affiliate link), Thomas Merton teaches us something about love learned by the ancient monks of the Catholic church.

Love demands a complete inner transformation – for without this we cannot possibly identify ourselves with our brother. We have to become, in some sense, the person we love. And this involves a kind of death of our own being, our own self.

To love is to become.

Love does what no law or rule or expectation can. Love transforms us on the inside. Yes, often it changes what we do, but more than that, it changes who we are.

When we love someone, we see that person differently. We begin to see through their skin, past the obstacles of the obvious. Past their appearance and our initial feelings about them.

And after seeing, we become them. As long as we remain separate and different, we cannot love.

To love is to die.

The transformation into the object of our love demands that a part of us must die. There is only room for so much inside of us. The desire for the self is the greatest enemy of love.

But through our own death we can give life to another.

An example of transforming love.

Through the incarnation of Jesus, God became us. God took on our limitations, our feelings, our desires, our need for rest, our hunger, our thirst, our nakedness.

The same God who made the stars with his breath, needed a hammer and a saw and wood to build a house.

Jesus was executed. We often say he died for us. But maybe the most tragic death wasn’t the one on a cross. Maybe it was even harder for him to leave his father and become us.

But through his becoming of us, we could know his perfect love for us.

This is how we change the world.

Not through theology or standards. Not through preaching or beliefs.  Not through church attendance or praise songs. Not through words of rebuke. Not through the disapproval of others.

And certainly not by writing or reading about love.

But by loving another so much, that we become them, letting ourselves die in the process.

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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4 Replies

  1. Griz

    I had never really thought about death from the perspective of Jesus being separated from the Father. This makes me even more grateful for what Christ has done for us.

  2. fiteboss

    What a great post.

  3. Lanre

    great one there. All right

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