Spiritual Reflections

The Prejudice of Love

“I realized,” my friend confided, “she wasn’t that pretty after all.”

I kept silent. I didn’t know how to react. Was he simply sourgraping the breakup? I couldn’t honestly tell; I am not the best judge of physical appearances, as I admittedly am as vulnerable to the usual biases as other guys when it comes to beauty.

But as embarrassing as this might sound, I am indeed judgmental when it comes to appearances. I am quick to ask myself, “What in the world did that girl see in that guy?!” (or vice versa) And yes, at the end of the introspective argument, the only explanation that makes sense: “S/he is in love.” That’s it.

Love is blind, and we often quote it with sarcasm. Yet— is that such a bad thing? 

When people talk about love, we’re quick to think of romance. And when we think of romance, we tend to discuss the ideals and the standards— which, when one strips its pretentiousness, are nothing more than prejudices romanticized. For when we confess of our preferences, doesn’t that show bias against those of the unpreferables?

Yet I am not claiming that it is wrong to have standards; rather, that most of the time, we have adopted the wrong ones.

However, we all know that no matter how much we talk about the right standards, it won’t really matter when we actually fall in love, and choose to love someone. Because when love comes, we learn to be prejudiced for our beloved.

Just take the parent, when their child was involved in a wrongdoing. How fiercely they would protect, even reject accusations pointed at, their child; how when proven guilty, they would plead, negotiate for mercy and grace, making appeals for a justice that they sometimes deny from others.

Just take the patriot, when the nation is in trouble and at the brink of a crisis, who choose to stay and defend and offer one’s life in loving martyrdom— even as his cowardly fellowmen abandon their posts and save their own interests. Yet the patriot doesn’t care for their faults; love compels him to only see what is best for the nation. All else matter less or none at all.

As a Christian, I can’t help but be reminded of the ‘first’ romance: when Adam fell in love with Eve— so much that he allowed himself to partake in Eve’s mistake. He could’ve protested, he could’ve scolded her, he could’ve reminded her gently of what was right. Yet he didn’t; his love (even though misguided, though this is just my own prejudice about love speaking) compelled him to join her in her desire and pleasure. After all, she was his wife; wouldn’t it be wrong to fight with her? Wouldn’t it be more acceptable to go to hell with her, than live alone again for the rest of eternity? (I’m sure there was a movie about something like this…)

Yet at the same time, God showed His loving prejudice for us when He provided a way to save mankind, to free us from sin. He could’ve just given us over to our damnation, allowing us to suffer the eternal consequences that we deserve. Love so blinded Him that He kept chasing after stubborn Israel, even as they kept rejecting and forgetting about Him. His love propelled Him to cast away His own divinity and be as mortal as we are— even when He could’ve simply created new humans to replace our ungrateful race.

I wish we could always see the best in others. After all, that has been among the most pervading ideals of romance: to love by always seeing the best in someone. Having a best inside us simply means there is a worst inside us as well; but we don’t want people to focus on that. Yes, we want that unconditional love that so readily accepts our failures without judging us for the ugly facts of our existence.

We want prejudiced love, love that blindly concentrates on the beautiful things while disregarding our faults and flaws. But true love is not found in being non-confrontational, in letting things be as they are; such a cowardly bias is not love at all. No, pure love will always be prejudiced for what is good, towards our good.

For when we love, we believe in all that is good— forcing us to trust and have faith. Even when the one we love fails our expectations, our prejudiced love holds on.

For when we love, we build hope on what will and can be. Love that proudly braves the doubts and uncertainties of tomorrow, love too prejudiced to be overcome by worries and reality.

For when we love, we become persons of prejudice: who refuse to agree that someone is hopeless, who scoffs at anyone claiming that someone does not deserve your attention or tears, who would sacrifice all just to prove that someone was worth it— that you are worth it, even when we know deep inside that we are not worth anything.

In a hurting world that sullenly teaches us to move on, maybe we need to be His prejudicial love that’s too stubborn to learn to give up and let go.

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