Moltmann Monday: On Belovedness

Happy Moltmann Monday! I was THRILLED on Friday when Moltmanniac posted a video from Yale of a discussion between Moltmann and his student, Miroslav Volf. You can watch the video and read the entire transcript here. (You should watch the video, because he’s the cutest.) I wanted to highlight one of Moltmann’s responses (italics mine) and share some thoughts:

I think the intention of love is the happiness of the beloved. So love’s intention is not to own the beloved but to have the beloved happy. Therefore, love sometimes supports the beloved, and sometimes taking oneself back to let the beloved gain freedom. So both actions are actions of love. We are not loved because we are so beautiful and good, but we are beautiful and good because we are loved. And this is true for interpersonal relationships, and also true with the relationship of God who is love, as we say with the New Testament. And so he wants to see his beloved children on earth happy and joyful.

I love how in five sentences Moltmann tells us all we need to know about what love looks like in a healthy relationship. This is what real love is: seeking the happiness, the joy, of the beloved. All those verses about “submit yourselves to one another” and “love does not envy” and “do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” and “love one another as I have loved you”- all of those are signposts to the kind of love that seeks the joy of the beloved. Not for any manipulative reason. Not for some weird form of control. No, because it brings you joy to bring your beloved joy.

And how do we do that? Well, it encompasses basically two things. Sometimes it means we support the beloved. We come behind them or beside them or surround them. We show up. We cheer. We encourage. We are right in the middle of it, because what’s important to the beloved is important to us. But other times, it means that we step back and give our beloved some ROOM. We let them shine without us remotely near the spotlight. We let them do their thing, which is completely and entirely separate from our thing. We don’t expect constant, endless overlap. We give our beloved room to grow and change when necessary.

The second thing I want to point out is what I put in italics. We are not loved because we are so beautiful and good, but we are beautiful and good because we are loved. That is the ground of our being, right there. God loves us. God just does. There’s nothing to earn and no way to lose. God loves us. Period.

That kind of love makes us beautiful and good. God looked at what God had made, male and female, and they were very good. And when we become aware of that? Well, that’s when transformation really takes off. ¬†We realize that we are God’s beloved. God is in our corner, seeking our joy, cheering us on, and also giving us room to grow and change and become. God delights in our becoming, because God wants to see God’s children happy and joyful.

At the end of the interview, Volf said, “So joy in the end wins?” And Moltmann answered with a smile, “Yeah. I’m convinced of that.”

Me too.

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