For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. — Galatians 5:13-14, 18-25
There are no rules when it comes to love.
It is something the Galatians needed to be reminded of, and I understand. It’s a simple idea. You hear it and think, “Of course. Of course there is no such thing as too much love or too much patience. More kindness is always better than less. Yet we pace ourselves. We ration. We save our love for certain people and withhold it from others. We live as if we don’t believe the simple truth that love grows, seeps and expands. It replenishes and flows.
There are good things that we need to apply rules to: sugar or screen time come to mind. Moderation is key. Our struggles to find balance and health in life, or relationship with our own will power, trains us to apply rules to all things. With the gift of the spirits, though, rules need not apply.
On Father’s Day, my father reflected about raising five children. When my mom was pregnant with me, their second, my parents were afraid. There was no way they could love us as much as they loved their first. But then I came into their lives, and they hearts expanded. There was more love to go around.
There is no law against more love. And isn’t this what we need right now? To believe in the ability for love to multiply and spread? We will not run dry. If we love more, God will replenish and renew, will fill us with the capacity to keep on loving.
Ellie Roscher is the author of How Coffee Saved My Life, and Other Stories of Stumbling to Grace. She holds a master’s degree in Theology/Urban Ministry from Luther Seminary and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College.
View more posts