And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.–2 John 1:5-6
The term “Catch 22” has morphed into our vocabulary over the years, originating in Joseph Heller’s novel of the same name regarding World War II bomber pilots. The basic idea is this: The only way that you can get out of flying missions is to be crazy, but if you seem to be crazy, then you’re assumed to be faking it because only somebody who was crazy wouldn’t try to get out of flying. So if you act crazy, you’re sane and if you act sane, you’re sane. Either way, you fly your missions. That’s Catch-22.
I think of that as I read today’s verses. These remind me of similar verses in 1 John, but there’s a twist to the matter. Let’s paraphrase. The command is that we love each other and love is the commandment and his command is for us to love. Everybody clear? The command is love and love is the command.
If you’re not confused, then you’re apparently not paying attention.
We’re too much children of the Enlightenment, too much trying to understand everything, to boil it down to its bottom-line thesis for this passage. If the command is love and love is the command, then what do I do? How should I live? How about a test:
- Is it loving to share food with others? Of course.
- Is it loving to help others? Yep.
- Is it loving to accumulate as much wealth as possible regardless of the consequences? I don’t think so.
See, that wasn’t so hard. All too often, like trying to get out of bombing missions, we try to make actions in life complicated so that we can avoid living in love. Contrary to what it seems, this verse is incredibly clear. Just love, baby!