Jesus looked at him and loved him.
I don't think we are--collectively--naturally talented at being loved.
We seem to mess up loving a good deal.
That is undeniable.
Human beings are pretty bad at loving someone truly, completely, without a hint of self thrown in.
We see this truth all around us: in the mothers yelling at their sons on the sidewalk, in the trash bags full of designer clothes on the sidewalk, in the cold stare we assume when walking past a person asking for a handout.
Yes, we are pretty poor lovers.
But, even more tragically, I think we mess up being loved.
Once someone loves us, we tend to get all panicky and grasp-y, because we don't trust in the gift of that love. We don't really believe that someone loves us because they are simply giving us the gift of their love. Again, we are too self-oriented. We see their love as an affirmation of some aspect of our character: oh I am lovable, because I am _________. Because I am good at ________, this person loves me. We must be lovable, we think, because we are virtuous, beautiful, generous, good, strong, caring, happy, joyful, fun, smart, witty, intelligent, understanding. It is that thing that makes us lovable, and if we stop being That, or if the person finds someone more That, then they will stop loving us so much.
Or we think that this person's only has a limited amount of love to go around. And we want all of it. We want every moment of their time, we want to have every moment of their day, we want to have every moment of their selves. Jealously, we guard their time, their friends, their heart. Do they love only us? Do they love us more than anyone else?
We don't seem to understand that love is the free gift offered to us. That love is the reaction of a soul to a soul. That love is a gift that can't be bought or owed; love is grace, perhaps.
It falls where it will, on the just and unjust; on the hopeful and the hopeless; on the mean and the generous; and on the undeserving (there are no deserving).
We can only open ourselves to receive it. The only action we are capable of is capacitating ourselves for grace, of opening ourselves to love, allowing our hearts to be loved.
Then, of course, return it to others, a reaction born of the joy of receiving.