That Crazy Nero

There is a movie that I remember watching with my mother and sister many years ago…I want to say “Ben-Hur.” Well I do not remember much of the movie, but rather a scene in that movie where the insane Roman emperor Nero makes a demand of his wife: “I command you to stop loving me!” Somehow that hit our funny bone – probably just the sheer lunacy of the statement. But to this day, we will crack a smile if one of us blurts out that line.

I can recall an experience in 2010 where I found myself grappling with a particularly frustrating love challenge – someone, who by her actions and words, seemed to be commanding me to not love her. And after a few months of her negative treatment, I was more than willing to grant her wish. What made the situation even more frustrating was that I had not done anything to this woman – absolutely nothing to deserve her furor. It was unfair and unjust, and I wanted some kind of justification.

I am not a mean-spirited person, but I quickly found myself rejoicing every time she messed up at work. Part of the problem was that this person’s actions began to remind me of another person who hurt me badly several months prior. I suddenly found myself greatly desiring vengeance on both of them. I wanted to hurt the just as much (if not more) as they hurt me. Even more, I wanted them humiliated in front of their peers.

They are both demanding that I not love them, and I made myself miserable trying to do just that – to the extent of actually dreaming about confronting the woman and getting her fired.

But then I finally stopped my plotting long enough to hear God. He knew the situation was unfair – He saw every “dagger” look she gave me, and He heard everything she said against me and my (now) ex-husband (she was his employee). But regardless of what she was doing, He still loved her. And because He loved her, I had to decline her demand and also love her. I also had to love the other person – a fete I found much more difficult.

There are going to be other people in my life who demand that I not love them, but their petition will always be outweighed by God’s command that we love because Christ first loved us (I John 4:19).

 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things. Love never fails.”



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