Max, Marc, Morgan, Miller, and Mac.

There are four pursuits I would like you to consider carefully for your personal life. These things represent the qualities of Christ I work hardest to attain. There’s many different ways to say these things. It was difficult for me to narrow them to four. These don’t have to be the defining markers of your faith like they are for me. At the time of me writing this, I have been taking God seriously for more than two decades and it took me many months to discern and distil these qualities. It will take you a long time to see how you live your faith.

The first pursuit is love and so this is what we shall discuss. It makes sense to begin with this because this is the best description of God (after YHWH) and our highest ideal to which we reach. Without love we are nothing.

It is impossible to cover all of what it means to show love. Many things contribute to this. In everyday language, love is diluted from overuse: I love your mother and I love key lime pie. Coming to a comprehensive biblical understanding of love is difficult because nearly every chapter speaks of love.

Therefore: become a student and practitioner of love. You’ll never stop learning and you’ll never perfect the art.

Since you were little, I have told you that loving a person means wanting the very best things for them. I encouraged and challenged you often to show love, to consider what the very best thing was for the other person.

Doing this consistently for the rest of your life would set you apart from most in this world. While this understanding of love is biblical, it is an incomplete and immature understanding. It assumes you know what the very best thing is for a person.

Only God can teach you what is the best thing for a person. We will talk more of these when we speak of truth, but it is imperative that you understand this now. For while love means many things but it doesn’t mean every thing. Without a true foundation we will call all things love.

I happen to favor John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Of course you know me well and understand that I’m drawn to absolutes and to the furthest reaches… the “greatest love” is something I’d latch on to quickly. This Scripture is raw and it is real. Raw like an open wound and real like the tombstone you’ll someday be under. Nothing comfortable about that love (unless you are receiving it). Consider: are the friends you have now worth dying for? This isn’t a test of them (we’ll do that later), but a test of your character.

There are many ways to love, therefore you must learn to love in different ways. The more ways you can love, the more people you can serve. It is an immaturity to only know one or two loves. This kind of blindness can lead to devastating and debilitating relationships. Further on I will show you different ways to love. Today you can look around at the people you know and learn from them. I tend to love others in a way they rarely experience.

Love with reckless abandon. Do you know what this means? Reckless abandon is a pack of hungry wolves. They are lean from a long lacking of food through the cold winter. They stumble across a lone rabbit and give chase without thought, without fear, without care. Focused and driven. Love like this.

My sons. You will be hurt. And it will happen so many times. Keep loving. Keep on wanting the very best thing for others. My dear Max, at the time of me writing this, you are the most sensitive of your brothers. I know the fear of rejection and isolation is an icy paralysis for you. When this happens, don’t retreat for long. Keep loving. My sweet Marc. For you, the betrayal of a loyalty propels you into a hot rage. I understand your rage. I, too, burn for justice and what’s right. Love. Please learn to love. You will be rejected and you will be betrayed. Through love you will break the shackles these things create. Through loving, God will heal and strengthen you. In love you will help others.

I have more to write, but I must stop. I can barely write. For now I am burning with a hot rage, I have only one desire to crush the one who hurts you. I must stop now and prepare myself for when these days come so that when you are hurt, I too can love. Were it to happen tonight, I would be consumed with an unholy and loveless rage. If my love for you keeps me from loving others, then am I loving you well? No.