“unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another” is one of the definitions of love by Merriam-Webster.
The Bible speaks greatly about love, so do psychologists, philosophers and wise men and women all over. Why then do we doubt or downplay it’s importance in our lives and interactions? Today, I want to speak to you about Love, and I don’t mean the romantic love that we are all craving, this is a different side of love.
“Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed; by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves; we have not loved ourselves as we ought. We are truly sorry and humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us, that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.”
This is the Act of Penitence as written in the ‘The Book of Common Prayer’ used by Anglicans.
Let’s talk a little bit about the section in bold; “We have not loved you with our whole heart.” Of course that talks about God. God is love. He is the greatest manifestation of what love is and should be. He gave His only son to die on the cross for us. He brings us through each day and provides us with food, clothing and shelter. Not many people appreciate the blessings bestowed upon them, they forget that they can’t do it all alone. We also forget that loving God isn’t just about speaking His word, it’s about practicing His word and spreading it. It’s about living a life that is acceptable to him. He loves us for who we are, sinner or not; he just doesn’t like the sin. We should try to ensure that we embody His grace as much as we possibly can. That when we fall, we are not afraid to ask him for help to get back up. That we love His creations and treat them with respect.
“We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.” As I read this line, I think of the sermon that was done by a friend of mine one Sunday. She said a line that made me shiver and think about a lot. She said ‘Too many times have our words been the bearers of misery to others’ I am paraphrasing but the line really made me think. If we loved our neighbours as we did ourselves; would we say and do half the things we do? Would we fail to find out if they are doing okay? Would we turn a blind eye to the tears that we see flooding their minds? Would we really pretend as if we don’t care and we have done enough, when we would have wanted them to care for us?
Kirk Franklin has song that is entitled ’The Last Jesus’, there is a line that speaks directly to what I have said. “It’s easier to say your help is on the way, but I was your help all along.” We have lost what it means to be our brothers’ keeper. We have been so consumed in self that we forget to be the light in someone else’s darkness. There are no ways or steps to use to act this out; it has to come from within, from a genuine place. Just saying an empty Good Morning is not enough, though it is a start. We have to try to be more, do more and try to feel more. We have become a generation of social networks but little socialization. We throw the word love carelessly but save the acts of love like scarce water.
This brings me to the third section, which says ‘We have not loved ourselves as we ought’. I think we have a major issue of self esteem in people these days. Don’t think just because you flaunt your body and profess each day that you are the hottest thing alive that you have self-esteem. Self-esteem and self-assurance is knowing who you are and accepting that. It is respecting yourself so that others see the need to respect you. It is not allowing yourself to lose sight of the values and beliefs that you hold just because another man tells you to.
Loving yourself is much more than going to the hairdresser every week and buying the latest outfits. Loving yourself is certainly not making others feel small just because you know you aren’t as big as you may want to be perceived. It is knowing your flaws and accepting them and using your strengths to help your flaws; to make you a better person. We don’t love ourselves as we ought, which is why it is so easy to treat others as less than human, as less than a rodent.
I won’t pretend to be a preacher, but I do know somethings. It is something that I myself am struggling with, but everyday I climb another rung on the ladder, I try to become a better me. Some days I don’t move, some days I fall but I will never give up and neither should you.
This blog is not about giving you steps, it is touching on the truth. LOVE IS IMPORTANT AND ESSENTIAL! It is mentioned way too much for us to try to be delusional of that fact. If you lack love, you lack life, you are nothing but a floating ghost waiting for your doom. Never lose faith in love and the hope that you will be able to share and experience it in its various forms.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 CORINTHIANS 13: 4-13