Let's be honest. It is really hard to feel love for others all of time.... Like the Encouraging Others post from a few days ago, I personally find this task difficult at times ....to love everyone.... Yet I realize we often confuse LOVE with LIKE... we do not always like everyone, like their behaviors, their words or how they treat us. Thus, loving others is different than liking. We may not like all of these things, but we should love the person because the person is created in God's image. Even the people we love the very most in our lives are often very difficult to like. Loving, though, is what we are called to do!
Who???....who is in your world, your immediate world, to whom you can demonstrate love... If you are in the adoption world, is there another family to whom you can show love? This section definitely overlaps the Encouraging Others blog post. Who CAN'T you love? Well, as I said above, we are called to love people even when we do not like what they do or certain aspects of their personalities. God loves us despite our sin. If we apply this truth to those around us, how much more love (and grace) could we afford those around us?
How??? There is a book written called the The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.... it talks about the different ways each individual gives and receives love.....1)Words of Affirmation 2)Quality Time
3)Receiving Gifts 4)Acts of Service 5)Physical Touch. These do not apply only to the marriage relationship, but to all the important relationships around you. I took the quiz for wives before writing this section. They have ones for singles, husbands, children and so on. I found it interesting because I realize the way that I feel the most loved may not be the way the other importment people around you receive and feel love. I challenge you to go take a look at it...
However, at core of truly loving someone, anyone, is sacrifice. Sacrificing time to give yourself others; Sacrificing sleep to spend moments with others; Sacrificing pride to admit you were wrong and loving someone deeper; Sacrificing self-seeking behavior and desires to put another person ahead of yourself. And maybe that is what makes unconditional love so very difficult....we (I) are so concerned about our needs and making ourselves feel better and meeting our own needs that sacrificing for another is often the furthest thing from our minds...
“Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love, is by far, the truest type of love.”
Why???....because he told us to "And the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:39. Simple. If you are a Christian, this is the only "why" you need. Does that make it easier? Absolutely not. I would argue that being a Christian makes it harder because we are specifically instructed to love others. It is fine and dandy to love others when convenient but it is much more difficult to do so when our Savior commands it and holds us accountable to it.
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Parting thoughts.... I write on this because I still struggle daily with this. I fail my friends, my family, my spouse, my son.... I am selfish and do not always sacrifice for them. But what can I do? I try to seek guidance daily through prayers...living life, making mistakes, and growing from them.
So do you have any ideas... I would love to hear them. And some quotes I love.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
If you could only love enough, you could be the most powerful person in the world.
Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible - it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.
Barbara de Angelis