A real love – A totally hypothetical situation…

by Craig on November 19, 2010

(I almost didn’t hit publish button on this one)

Totally hypothetical situation.

It’s about a friend of mine.

We’ll call him – since this is purely hypothetical – we’ll call him – me.

I am in a new place. I haven’t been here long. I’m a little out of place in this new place. I didn’t mean to arrive here. It wasn’t the plan. But things changed and this is the place I landed.

Remember, this is purely hypothetical.

It may sound as if I’m not liking this new place. But I actually thought hard about it and it’s a place I chose to come to. In fact, I think it’s a truly special place, with some really remarkable people. It’s a place in which I want to be.

But the lines and rules and boundaries of this new place I am not sure of. Like a kid in a new High School. Everyone can clearly see you are new. You stick out. You have a Brooklyn accent in a place that simply doesn’t talk like that.

You look different.

You are different.

Things are established in this place. It’s a tightly knit place. And I’m worried
that I may say the wrong things to the the right people, and in the wrong way.

I might be misunderstood.

If I’m misunderstood.  I might be labeled. The label  will stick right here – big and bold on this chest. It might be in a hypothetical color – let’s say – scarlet.

And since I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way – the choice of analogy here has nothing to do with the letter – and all to do with the branding. It could be any letter – the first one is just the more famous example.

It could be this letter.

And a slightly different color

It makes no difference. The point is that if this hypothetical person makes the wrong move he might be branded, ostracized, and have nowhere to go. Because this is the place he wants to be.

I actually could go elsewhere where I am more familiar with the rules and I don’t stick so much. But I like this place – and the people – and I just don’t want to insult anyone or offend them.

It seems that this hypothetical person needs to find out the rules of this place and do so fast, because beginnings turn to endings in the blink of an eye. And he I (this is a bit confusing) don’t want this to be the end already. I just got here.

Today’s love is this:

Love does not seek to create offense.


I do not want to create an offense. Love moves adroitly and tries to see the situation from all sides. It tries not to overstep bounds.

I’d say that perfect love never does – except perfect love walked this earth and did create an offense. But that was different. That was perfect love and the offense had to be created so the sacrifice could be made. This is not that. I just want and need to be prudent, discerning, and thoughtful.

So today, I pray for each of you to love this way. I pray that  you discover the rules in each place you are. That you try not to overstep bounds. That you go through this day and seek not to offend. Not one time.

Be careful. It may be a tightrope walk.

The question for the hypothetical person is this:

This hypothetical person, did offend. He didn’t mean to. And didn’t offend everyone. But did offend. What does love do then? If you have any ideas about this, I am sure that the hypothetical person will be reading the comments.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon November 19, 2010 at 6:14 am

Matthew 18:15+…. Matthew 5:23-25. It is pretty simple. :-) and works in all of life.

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I am His Beloved November 19, 2010 at 9:00 am

Today I am reading you through Internet Explorer..your post with its pictures are quite brilliant.
Yesterday I had my weekly meeting with a counselor who is helping me work through years of abuse and hurts..the thing she has chosen to focus on with me is boundaries.
Boundaries are good and healthy…they help us to continue to grow love. Offenses happen when boundaries are crossed.
Because I never set boudaries up in my life I easily allowed others to overtake me, control me. dominate me, abuse and manipulate me and because I had no sense of me starting and them ending I would allow it to happen…I didn’t want to offend, hurt..I wanted to play the nice girl.
These past few days I am learning to be aware of when those boundaries are crossed…when my triggers are flared and I lose my sense of me…I cannot control other people, I cannot control what they read, who they read, if they comment, I can only control me…I must have my identity in Christ so when the whole world may seem like they have pinned that letter on me I can stand tall and know I am still His beloved. I am identified not in others but in Christ.
Love you Craig…

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Craig November 19, 2010 at 9:45 am

Sharon – a little ray of morning sunshine. Nice to see you here. What I see from those verses and need to do — err – and need to tell the hypothetical person to do – is that he needs to try to be reconciled. It is not his to force understanding. It is not his to do anything but pray for God’s will, want God’s will, do what God’s Word says, “go and be reconciled.” And before he goes, and while he’s there, and after he comes back – to lay it all in the hands of a God who can.And the hypothetical person worries to much – if he really believes that God can and does touch hearts. And can and does mend fences, and bring about forgiveness and understanding. This is good advice for me – err – the hypothetical person.

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Sharon November 22, 2010 at 9:00 am

The verses from Matt.5 tell me that He would rather see us practice reconciliation HIS way than to have us bow at his feet in worship… Reconciliation is actually more important to him than our worship… our practicing reconciliation is a more appreciated worship than singing a million worship/praise songs at the top of our lungs.

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Craig November 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

I still think Bill Gates has a problem with me that he is not letting go of. :)

Of course, I, never cross boundaries and never hurt anyone’s feelings, or make them feel in any way bad. The hypothetical person, however, has come to understand that he has “boundary issues”. He used to not even now when he crossed those boundaries. So he crossed them all the time – oblivious – singing a happy song. But he has become more aware – and can sense the crossed boundary – once it’s crossed. Sadly, the hypothetical person has not yet learned to always sense it BEFORE he bumps into the fence posts. I think your scarlet A stands for Awesome.

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gina reid November 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Yeah. I can see you know. I downloaded firefox…that’s just funny to say.

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Melissa Brotherton November 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Craig – this is a brilliant post, and something we all deal with at different times in our life. Here’s hoping that the hypothetical person doesn’t give up, but perseveres in learning the rules and boundaries. You’re writing is inspirational and I appreciate you sharing your heart here.

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Craig November 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Melissa – that means a lot to me I – I mean the hypothetical person – He had a crushing day, that inspired this post. The hypothetical person will “persevere in learning the rules and boundaries.” Thank you.

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Danielle Smith November 20, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Craig~

Since I haven’t heard back from the hypothetical person via email, I’m guessing that a) my email wasn’t too comforting or b) his day isn’t any better. However, I’m hoping he sticks with it because I think he has much to offer and I like having him around. Also – his writing his beautiful, heartfelt and kind….. and his comments and ability to reach out to others? Genuine. Tell him (if you talk to him) to keep at it.

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Craig November 21, 2010 at 1:07 am

Some angels don’t have wings.

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Debbie November 21, 2010 at 2:59 am

Just getting here at the end of things and loving all your support! It makes me feel sickish when I offend. Learning the rules and boundaries is good. Learning His love and forgiveness knows no bounds is even better! God, the lifter of your head, bless you! deb

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Craig November 21, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I know Deb. This was hopefully a good lesson for me to learn – to be humble, to not overstep, to be aware of what my actions do and how they might affect people. I know I’ll forget that lesson. I forget them all too often. But I know I’ll try to keep this one front and center for a while. Darn! I mean the hypothetical person will try to keep the lesson close. Um – I will remind him. God forgives, People don’t always. But God is over all and we are his. Thank you Deb. I mean the hypothetical – well you know what I mean.

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