Love. It’s one of the most overused words in our culture. We overcomplicate it at times, and at other times completely undermine its true meaning. I have to admit that I tend to lean towards the overcomplicating it side. If I’m going to love someone, I must have to do something extraordinary or be among the perfect set of circumstances (good day, good attitude, no problems).
But I’m missing the point.
A well-known teacher once said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Think about that for a minute. You can try and be humble for a second and immediately think, “I don’t love myself that much.” But, you do. We all love ourselves. We love taking photos of ourselves, being complimented when we know we look good, noticed when we walk into a room, receiving mercy when we mess up, and encouragement when we do well. But of course we like those things! Compliments brighten our days and photos often make us smile.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think these things are inherently bad. But sometimes we love those things so much for ourselves that we forget others need them too. We forget that the cashier at the grocery store might want just one person to acknowledge his/her humanity and ask how their day is going. Or maybe the person you always pass in the hallway could use a bright smile and cheerful hello. Perhaps it’s your coworker who always compliments you, who could use some encouragement in her own life. Or even your spouse who forgets to do something you ask, needing mercy rather than attitude.
If we belong to Jesus, we ARE loved! And because we are loved, it should overflow into our thoughts, attitude, and actions. I believe that choosing to love is one of the best ways we reflect our Creator. I know I can be completely unlovable at times, yet God still chooses love. Some days, I don’t want to smile in the hallway, or let the millionth person cut in front of me in traffic, or talk to the cashier in the grocery store at the end of a long day. But our not wanting to shouldn’t hold back a single moment of showing someone else love.
This topic reminds me of a saying that my mom constantly told my brother and I, and it has stuck with me and convicts me to this day, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized these words came from Jesus himself. And on even the very worst day I might be having, these words remind me that I can get past it and still choose to acknowledge those around me because it’s what I would want someone to do for me.
Don’t overcomplicate it, and don’t think it’s silly or pointless. People matter, and in the end, we all desire to be loved.
Graphic Designer for Scarlet & Gold