My favorite movie is Terms of Endearment. It depicts a close relationship between a protective, overbearing widow and her easygoing daughter. Both struggle within their relationship and outside of it; the movie spans thirty years as they share life, love, and insults. You’ve probably seen it or heard of it, and if you haven’t, then you’re probably very young. Or my husband.
I’ve seen it a hundred times, and every time I watch it, the opening music makes me cry immediately. Like ugly face cry. Incidentally, I always watch it alone.
The characters in this movie show love to each other despite their complaints, stinging remarks, and grudges. These behaviors have become how they relate to each other, even care for each other; they show their love through the arguing. It’s entertaining and touching to see how they accept and love the awfulness about each other.
It’s so for our own relationships. We love our loved ones through jokes and teasing, accept their flaws and bad habits, complain about the things they do that annoy us, and we still love each other.
We all love awfulness in other ways, too. I love junk food, which is questionably categorized as food at best, and it is most certainly awful for my health. But I love it.
We are drawn to the dark, the foolish, the dangerous, the mean. We hungrily consume bad news, gleefully gossip about and judge others, and celebrate when our rivals lose. We love being fed by the awfulness of our world, and we don’t even realize it.
God loves us despite our flaws, despite our ruined perfection. His love for us contains no teasing, jokes, barbs, or insults. He wants us to live with him forever, in the most perfect place none of us can even imagine, and love only the good, the wonderful, and the lovely. We will work, play, and celebrate his perfection and our own. There will be no insults, no annoyances, and no complaining.
Until then, we can practice by loving the good that God delivers to us. It’s a constant struggle for me, lover of the movie about the argumentative and deeply flawed. I have to remember that he has so much more for us than our world can give, and none of it is awful.
Jesus said, “Do not fear little flock, for it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:13 (NKJV)