My mom had a stack full of beautiful cards in front of her — an outpouring of sympathy for the loss of her brother. My uncle had unexpectedly passed away way too soon. She handed me a pretty card with a folded piece of paper inside — this one, she said, I had to see.
I opened the piece of paper, and tears filled my eyes. (They still do as I think about it today.) I looked at the paper covered with pencil hearts and “I love you’s,” and I thought, This is love. This is pure, true love. It was the sweet, unmistakable handwriting of a six-year-old trying her best to make her letters perfect, the eraser marks still visible. She wrote, Please, please be happy.
It was from my great niece to her great-grandma, my mom. It was all her idea. Because of COVID, they hadn’t been able to come for the funeral, and all she wanted was for her great-grandma to be happy again. She wanted to be sure my mom would be okay.
At six years old, she gets it. She understands that love is about the good of the other. Without even knowing how meaningful her actions would be, she wanted to let her great-grandma know that she was loved.
God created us for love, with love, and to love as He did. He calls us to want the good of others, just as He wants what’s good for us.
For this is the original message we heard: We should love each other.
1 John 3:11 (MSG)
We are told over and over again in the Bible that we should love one another, so why don’t we? Why is it so difficult? Why aren’t we doing a better job at it? Why have we let this world harden our hearts so much?
I understand that we’re human, that we don’t feel loving every day. We don’t feel loving after endless months of illness and bad news. We don’t feel loving when our routines are awry and we are missing loved ones. We don’t feel loving when things aren’t going according to plan or when others are difficult and unkind.
Love isn’t always easy. In fact, it isn’t easy much of the time. But we can make a choice. We can choose to act in a loving way even when we don’t feel like it because God calls us to.
Sometimes, this might mean that we grit our teeth, take a deep breath, and overlook annoying circumstances to extend love. We can choose to bite our tongue instead of saying everything we feel in reaction to something and extend love. We can let go of hurt when someone wrongs us and extend love through prayer. We can do this because God loves us. Jesus laid down His life so we would know how much we are loved. Then, He rose again and gave us the Spirit who empowers us to love even when it’s hard.
What would it look like to love and want the good of others when tensions are high at home or at work? When we read opposing views on social media? When our neighbor isn’t acting very neighborly? What would God’s love through look like then?
Each day is full of opportunities, big and small, to love well. Whether it’s to our family members, our friends, or even to complete strangers, we can be the example of what it means to love as Christ loves us. They get to see and experience God through our expressed love.
So, be love amid all the darkness and sadness. Be love amid all the anger and hate.
This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
1 John 3:16-17 (MSG)
We don’t want God’s love to disappear. Let’s be like my six-year-old great niece who understands that love is wanting the good of the other. Let’s love God, love others, and love better.Leave a Comment