The Basis of Love

Love is not based on the willingness to listen, to understand the problems of others, or to tolerate their otherness. Love is based on the mutuality of the confession of our total self to each other. This makes us free to declare not only: "My strength is your strength" but also: "Your pain is my pain, your weakness is my weakness, your sin is my sin." It is in this intimate fellowship of the weak that love is born. When the exposure of one's deepest dependency becomes an invitation to share this most existential experience, we enter a new area of life. For in this sharing of weakness violence can be overcome. When we are ready to throw stones -- words can be as sharp as stones -- someone just may have the courage to cry out: "He who is without sin, let him throw the first stone.

Henri J. M. Nouwen, Intimacy