The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and to be loved.
There were earnest longings that all God’s people might be clothed with humility and meekness, like the Lamb of God, and feel nothing in their hearts but love and compassion to all mankind; and great grief when anything to the contrary appeared in any of the children of God, as bitterness, fierceness of zeal, censoriousness, or reflecting uncharitably on others, or disputing with any appearance of heat of spirit.
Love compliments and balances everything else. It is the beautiful, softening principle. It keeps our firmness from becoming hardness and our strength from becoming domineering. It keeps our maturity gentle and considerate. It keeps our right doctrine from becoming obstinate dogmatism and our right living from becoming smug self-righteousness.
To hate evil is good, because Christ hates evil. We cannot approve of everything and remain true to Him. But it is a question of being true to Him. A self-image of correctness creates a spirit of accusation. A sense of having been forgiven by the only Faithful One creates a spirit of love. That humility is more likely to safeguard orthodoxy in both principle and spirit — and not just because it is an effective institutional strategy, but because it will not have its lampstand removed by divine discipline.
Since we were forged by the Lover, we should delight in loving and in being loved. It would be inhuman not to delight in love. It would also be inhuman if we didn’t hurt deeply when rejected or sinned against by others. The problem is not that we desire love, the problem is how much we desire it or for what purpose we desire it. Do we desire it so much that it overshadows our desire to be imitators of God? Do we desire it for our own pleasure or for God’s glory?