Is it possible to love someone to death?
I love you. I love you. I love you.
Okay, so what is wrong with love? Sounds all nice and warm and fuzzy and all.
Well, I guess, nothing in and of itself. But, if I love you, and I see you head down a path that will lead to an eventual train wreck and wreckage results not only to you, but innocent bystanders, and I sit back and not shout out a warning, but remain quiet, because I love you, am I really doing you a favor?
Am I making sense?
Okay, maybe a better illustration will help–like one from Jesus.
Here Jesus is hanging out in the Temple when a bunch of hot-headed Pharisees enter with a woman of questionable character. She is an adulterous hot mess. They are ruthless, unkind and obviously unloving. Hearts of stone they have. Hands of finger-pointing-judgemental stones they carry. They want her dead.
Stone her already.
We know this story, now don’t we?
Jesus writes something on the ground that causes an internal, cut-to-the-heart conviction, and an external exit as each one quietly leaves the room after he addresses them in one full swoop:
“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Then, we see him turn toward the woman and give the gentle assurance we expect from Jesus:
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you…”
I can just feel her heartbeat transition from the racing of adrenaline caused in turmoil to a racing resulting from the kind we experience when we fall in love at first sight.
But, because Jesus is so fond of her, he does not stop short of saving her life, he offers her a chance at freedom as he finishes his conversation and sends her on her way:
“Go, and from now on sin no more.”
Jesus loved this adulterous woman so much he did not condemn her. But He loved her so much he did not allow her to remain on a train toward destruction either.
He guided her direction toward freedom in one full swoop of love and truth combined.
Because if he just picked her up and hugged her and loved her, without speaking an ounce of painful truth, she would eventually continue on that runaway train toward destruction, and who knows who else would lie dead in the aftermath.
May I say this: We don’t point fingers of judgement when we hold loved ones close and point them toward the honesty of their situation.
We may rescue a few souls from unnecessary carnage as a result.
I love you too much to sit back and say nothing.