Love is Political

It seems like love has become more political these days. 

When I talk about God’s call to love refugees, I’m making a political statement. When I express my love for God’s creation, complete with a desire for protection and conservation, I’m labeled by certain political terms. Declare my love for an unwanted, unborn child and the mother who carries it, and another political statement has been made.

Love has become even more political in a climate of hate and fear. Political rhetoric mounts even when discussing God’s command to love the refugee, the foreigner, the disenfranchised and the dehumanized.

Love my enemy? Political.

Pray fervently for the hated political leader? Political.

Deeply desire the welfare of a person fostering and advocating very different ideals than I? Political.

Proclaim our commitment to love and support immigrants? Political. 

Stand up for the concerns of those being oppressed or negated by corporate expansion? Very political, indeed.

And with that love comes labels, arguments, misunderstandings, rejection, heat.

PC: Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
But I guess that’s what we should expect. Because love is political. It always has been, at least any love that moves people beyond the realm of the normal, natural “love-for-my-own-kind” kind of love. Love is political when it begins to be shaped by the love of Jesus, who called his followers to love those everyone traditionally hated. Enemies, competitors, the other. 

And Jesus, when he lived out his words by loving the outsider, loving the less-thans, loving the despised and the cruel and the rich and the religious–Jesus was labeled a political threat, a political nightmare, a man who must be silenced. His love was dangerous to the status quo of power and comfort, both religious and political.

How easy is to forget that Jesus died a political death because of his love–love for people his peers considered unworthy, less than, dangerous and damned. Jesus loved his enemies so much he died for them (and that included me). And that love even included those who were killing him.

Love is political.

I admit, I don’t like confrontation. I hate being labeled “political.” I don’t want to bear the brunt of misunderstanding, of rejection, of dismissal. And while I do think how we express our love must be loving in and of itself, we must express it–I must express it.

I must be willing to be labeled “a bit too political”, if that charge comes from my obedience to the explicit command of Jesus to love my enemy, love the voiceless, love his world, love the lost.

Time to get loving.