11th December 2022, 07:49, Lagos
“Love is not possessive but neither is it passive.” I randomly uttered these words as I lay still in bed. It’s a short but profound sentence that I’m learning to practise in my relational life.
I’ve often seen people who are so nonchalant about their love that it scares me. In their defence, they believe that they’re giving the person they love the space to do whatever they will. They want the other person to feel like they have a choice. Whilst I understand the intention because as Corinthians says “love doesn’t seek its own will”, I don’t agree with passivity.
The dictionary defines passivity as “an acceptance of what happens, without active response or resistance.” As I pondered on passivity I couldn’t help but notice how it can hinder or even corrode a relationship (particularly a romantic relationship). Why be passive? Real love is bold. It doesn’t leave room for the other person to question its authenticity.
When I think about Jesus, he was always candid about the reality of hell – it exists – It’s very much there! He always gave us choice in everything – including salvation, but he never flaunted hell as an “ok” option. Nor did he say “I give you a choice but if you choose hell I’m also super cool with it.” Although He gave man the ability to choose He would always express what He wanted in that situation. In the case of salvation He would share his heart about His desire to see His children restored and reunited to Him:
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
John 17:24 NKJV
Jesus longs to be reunited with his children. From the jump He was – and continues to be – bold and open about His love for us. In the Christian faith we are called to mirror Christ in all that we do from how we run our families, to showing up at work, to relationships – in all things we are called to draw wisdom from Him.
When I reflected on this I sighed deeply. Passivity certainly ruins relationships. With passivity I guess the doer believes they protect themselves from rejection. Or they don’t want to be seen as “too much”. That’s sad because it means that the relationship will never get to real safety and security. There are depths of love and intimacy that can only be revealed when both parties are bold and open about their love for each other.
Even with my relationship with God I’ve seen more of him as I’ve been bolder, more aggressive in my pursuit and spent more time with Him. The more I ran after him the more he showed me. It’s through our dance that I’ve seen depths of the spirit I could never have imagined.
So today I want to speak candidly about passivity. Let us be very clear about one thing – it doesn’t protect you. In fact, it corrodes the very thing you hold dear. Passivity opens the door for fear and doubt in the heart of the one you love which of course leads to greater issues within the relationship.
This is not a call to creep people out but instead to love boldly (as led by the spirit of God of course). Instead of assuming someone knows how you feel, say it! Be bold about your love! Don’t be afraid to declare things repeatedly. Over time, the relationship will be strengthened and will give rise to deeper intimacy which is what we all truly crave.
P.s. the cover image is a picture of piece designed by a well-known Nigerian Artist Tolu Aliki