We need to see the half-hearted hero in each and every one of us. We claim we love God, we make a big show of our love, but in the end so often we fail in doing what God demands of us. We end up denying Christ, persecuting him, or perpetrating any number of sins against him all along, perhaps, claiming that we love him. But God is not desirous of half of our heart. He wants the whole enchilada, reckless abandon to his will in defense of him, to the point of hanging on a cross with him.
Here are a few that come to mind: Reuben, Moses, Peter, Simon of Cyrene, the rich young man, etc. Not necessarily terrible company here…not bad at all if we are courageous enough to realize our lack of love and to offer our weakness to God in reparation, to say “Lord I do love you, help my lack of love.”
Reuben tried to prevent his brothers from killing their brother Joseph. He attempted to convince them to throw him into a cistern planning to retrieve him later. But what happens next reveals the true weakness & half-heartedness of Reuben. His brothers sold Joseph into slavery. Did Reuben go with him? Did he go looking for him to buy him back? Did he even so much as tell his father what had really happened so that Jacob could go and look for him? After Joseph had been sold Reuben didn’t do much else at all. This makes one think that he really didn’t care much for defending his brother, but really just didn’t want to kill him. Can you imagine keeping this secret and protecting the lie that Joseph had been attacked and killed by animals, all along knowing that he is very possibly alive? This shows that as much as Reuben made a show of righteousness, he didn’t really care about protecting his brother in the end. He allowed his other brothers to keep their deception before Jacob, living a life of cowardice likely preferring to tell himself that he did everything he could. Hey, at least he protected him from being murdered, and that was enough. After all, Joseph deserved what was coming to him anyways with all of that talk about his dreams and how the whole family would have to bow down to him. In this way he quieted his conscience even though he knew that he needed to expose his brother’s lies and tell Jacob what had really happened.
There is always some way to pretend like we have done what is required of us when in fact we are resisting God’s loving will. There is always some justification for sin, and that justification can increase in insidiousness the more we are able to deceive ourselves in thinking we did all we could, that we are loving and have loved according to God’s plan. Isn’t is so often that our love is only half-hearted, and that we make of ourselves heroes, pretending that we have done all we could when we know in our heart that God wants more of us.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:15-17).
Dear Lord, show us who we truly are so that we might open our deepest heart to your merciful graces to transform us into your love, and to make us one with your wounded and resurrected body, blood, soul and Divinity. We do love you Lord, help our lack of love. Take our stony hearts and give us hearts full of your love.