There are two kinds of love. The first - prevalent in today's culture - is attraction love. You must attract me, or else I'll stop loving you... The second kind is virtue love, which fully embraces...love...and its responsibilities. I love you because I possess the inner virture and integrity to do so, no matter what you do or don't do. Even if you forget my birthday, blab my secret or wreck my car. - Bill Giovannetti in Focus on the Family's Parent magazine, February 2008
Though I did not pen these words, when I read them today, they expressed a dilemma that has been going on in my heart for some time. It really seems like God has been challenging me to step out of my selfishness and love others as He loves me and wants me to love, even when it isn't ideal. I think I have these subconscious "demands." My past experience has been that when He has blessed me with deep, rich, encouraging community, I have so much more energy and "ability" to give others that virtue - or agape/unconditional type love, than when I feel more isolated and alone. Which leads to the train of thought that "when He provides that type of community for me again, then I will have the energy to love others like that."
Yet I must learn to be so connected with Him that He is the source of my ability to love others. That lack of connectedness with God is probably the biggest factor in this dilemma. The second is probably laziness. It is hard work to be the kind of friend to others that God wants me to be when the "attraction" isn't there. But I don't recall reading anywhere in the Bible that we aren't to love others this way because "we don't click" or "we're very different" or "they don't listen to me." We are to love our neighbor as our self, and even show love to our enemies.