My husband and I enjoyed Valentine’s Day this past weekend by watching the 1970 movie, Love Story. It was a much-debated choice! The film was dated and cheesy but the wildly famous quote from this film, “love means never having to say you’re sorry” gave me pause. Hmmm, I thought, is that entirely true?
Ever since I was young and heard that quote, I wondered how that could be. Even back then, apologizing seemed like a very loving thing to do. Are we not always taught to say we’re sorry for wrongs committed against anyone? Especially those we love or care about? The ability to reach past our pain and embarrassment, our hurt and ego and touch the love we have for another seems the very epitome of what love means. To right a wrong, heal a hurt, and set things straight, means we love someone and their feelings matter.
One way to interpret the film and the puzzling quote was that someone accepts you exactly for who you are, no excuses, no explanations, no changes necessary. The love between the two is so complete that anything one did or will ever do is perfect in the eyes of the lover. Doesn’t that kind of unconditional love and acceptance with no agenda, no keeping score, no expectations just beg us to offer a heartfelt apology willingly when warranted? And isn’t this exactly the type of love Saint Paul writes about in I Corinthians? “Love keeps no record of wrongs”? Isn’t this just the type of love God has for us? Isn’t this just the depth of love Jesus demonstrates with everything he ever said and did?
We are forgiven long before we ever say we’re sorry. We are forgiven long before we ever commit our sin. We are forgiven as we are knitted in our mother’s womb. We ask forgiveness when we realize this.
Equally memorable was the theme from Love Story...”Where Do I Begin”. I can hear it’s haunting melody in my head as I write:
Where do I begin,
To tell the story of how great a love can be,
The sweet love story that is older than the sea...
Where do I begin?
We can begin on Wednesday, Ash Wednesday. A day set aside to recognize that we are already forgiven...and that’s what love means.
This Monday Minute is from Tammy Ames