This is an ongoing “Fruit of the Spirit” series featuring my past perspectives from 2019 along with present reflections in 2020. Check out my series intro here and my first fruit about love below.

Dean from December 2019

Few things are more iconic to me than the song, “What is Love?” I cannot help singing this song with the simple mention of the word, “love.” My wife has heard my poor attempts at singing the famous “whoa’s” more times than any wife should.

But the reason the song sticks with me is the genius of this question – what is love? This simple question is truly one that all people wrestle with. Is love a feeling? Is it something you do? Maybe a state of being or a way of life?

Or maybe it’s a plea to be free of hurt. *wink*

The Sunday school answer of “God is love” feels lacking, as do most Sunday school answers. It’s one thing to say God is love – it’s a completely different life that reflects God is love.

As I look ahead at 2020, I want to grow in love. I honestly believe there is a reason why Jesus says the whole Law is summed up by love – love God and love others.

How can an entire system of sacrifices, rituals, and holiness standards be love? Doesn’t it seem like the opposite of love? Wouldn’t love be more concerned with what can be provided for the other person as opposed to standards for them?

Perhaps I can better understand this concept this year.

As a queer man, why would a loving God permit me to desire that from which I should abstain? Why allow me as a young boy to be so abused as to feel unsafe as a boy and retreat to dreaming of being a girl?

How could God, in infinite and perfect love, let my will so rebel against His holiness? And how on earth do I demonstrate that love?

I wonder what Dean in 2020 will learn . . .

Dean from February 2020

Oh, past Dean, what you would experience in just the first month of the new year.

I thought love would be easy. I’m a pretty loving guy, right? Exploring love through my sexuality would be straightforward (irony slightly intended).

Here’s what I’ve gotten so far:

Love as a queer man has meant caring for people despite the hurt they’ve inflicted on me exactly because of my sexuality. Love tells me that I should refuse to hold these mistakes against them.

Instead, I embrace what Peter says: “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

It doesn’t mean I don’t hold people accountable for their actions. And it doesn’t mean I let myself be a doormat.

Rather, I love people where they are – even if where they are is unable to love me back. I love a person simply because God is love and the Holy Spirit manifests this love inside me.

This ability was difficult this past month. I came face to face with bitterness in my heart. I only came to admit so when I realized I was disliking not only the people who hurt me but also anyone associated with them. Others had done no wrong – yet I held a hurt against them.

As I prayed through how to overcome this bitterness, my “Fruit of the Spirit” journey here came to mind. The expression of love through my sexuality comes from loving all exactly where they are – because it’s what I am desiring from them. Who knew the golden rule would be the answer I found?

I want to be loved where I am in life. Why would I refuse to do the same for others?

What is “love” through the lens of your sexuality? How do you love God and love others?

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