I don't want your unconditional love.
You speak about me in the third person: "We must respond with unconditional love to people like you." People like me. I am less than you. I am something to tolerate. I am a project for you to bear until I am fixed. I am someone to invite to coffee so you can tell me all the ways that I am wrong.
Is that really love?
Or is it a wall?
Because it feels like a wall. I sit across from you as you ask questions about my life with that tight lipped grin on your face and know that no matter what I say I'm not going to get through. I feel your anxiety. Your nervousness. That smile never goes away. I talk about what God is doing in my life and see you tense up, bracing yourself. For what, I'm not sure. But neither of us are comfortable. You're on a mission to love.
But what about me?
Am I a person?
Why are you trying to get to know me? Do you truly want to know me? Or do you just want to change me? When you go home and talk about me to your friends, do you use me as an example of how you are reaching out to a specific group of people?
Are you impacted by me at all? Or are you searching my words for reinforcement of your pre-established thoughts about the state of my soul? Are you willing to learn from me? Are you willing to loosen your grip on the truth that you so desperately are holding on to? Are you willing to laugh with me? Celebrate with me? Cry with me? Are you willing to put your ideas about me on the shelf and embrace me?
Or will we just sip coffee with our tense shoulders?
Sure, you're being patient. Patient as you wait for me to stop talking so you can open your Bible and show me where I'm wrong. Sure, you're being kind. Kind as you hold yourself back from shaking your head when I share about my walk with Jesus. Sure, you're not being self seeking. Because this is all about concern for me. You're just helping me see that. Sure, you're not delighting in evil. It would be evil not to invite me out for coffee and show me my sin.
It's hard work. But, you're doing the work of Jesus, so it's worth it. It's draining to sit with me, but when you hear the words "well done, my good and faithful servant" the difficulty will pay off.
You finish your last sip of coffee, close your Bible, and pull out a book: "here, I'd like you to read this." "Come on, you claim to be open minded, so be open minded to my beliefs, just read it." Then you're gone. You've done your job. You've loved me.
Yet, I'm left there.
Staring at the wall.