We all need a Personal Love Zone.
No, no – I am not referring to your local XXX establishment or even your favorite karaoke bar. A Personal Love Zone (PLZ) is a metaphorical safe place within our souls; a place we share with others in our lives, a place where we give and receive unconditional love and acceptance without judgment. A PLZ relationship (or even a PLZ moment) is not to be confused with agreement and acceptance of the behavior and ideas of the person loved. It is a wild, insane myth of our time that loving and accepting a person is synonymous with endorsement of their every thought.
Think of your children, your spouse, your parents, or anyone you know well and love dearly. As part of the love you share, do you cheerfully support absolutely everything they do? Do you agree with and encourage their every thought, and they yours? Perhaps you sometimes argue with those you love best. Perhaps you step back a bit because, no matter how much that person is in your PLZ, you cannot be with them in a certain moment (I may love people who demonstrate for a cause I don’t share, and I may even appreciate their commitment to their beliefs, but I have no intention of joining the picket line). Perhaps you remain thoughtfully quiet on certain topics because you both know you will never see eye-to-eye, even though you hold each other close in your PLZ’s.
It’s called giving each other grace. It’s not always easy – matter of fact, it’s often pretty hard – but it is doable.
Unconditional love is graceful. It’s messy and honest and argumentative and quiet and pervasive. It hangs on through laughter and tears and joy and heartbreak. It doesn’t run away after a fight, and it knows that staying and working things out does not necessarily mandate agreement. Unconditional love is passionate and faithful. Unconditional love finds a way to make life work.
God knows we are all different – He created us that way. The Bible is pretty clear that God loves us all equally, unconditionally, and eternally, including those who fight Him. The Bible also makes it pretty clear that anyone who believes in God should reflect His heart to the world, so – aren’t we all supposed to love like that?
I think we are.
Welcome to the Love Zone.