Sometimes The Hardest Person To Love Is Me
Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, wanted to know when he called last if I would like to contribute five hundred dollars towards his purchase of a new boat and motor. He assured me that I could use it anytime I visit Saskatchewan.
It seemed to be a great plan for him since we don’t get back to visit in Saskatchewan often. Another thing in his favor is that I’m not a fisherman. My connection to fish is salmon and tuna out of a can. Generously, I offered to loan him five hundred dollars for six months at twenty percent interest.
Ed felt that I needed to learn a lot more about loving my neighbor as myself. I agree with Ed that it often seems other folks don’t treat us as we would like them to treat us. There is a lot of talk about the love of neighbor, but it is far easier to talk about love than to act in love.
Love is natural to promise in love songs like the old song that promises: “I’ll be loving you, always – not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but always.” Everyone wants to hear someone tell them, “I love you.” Everyone wants to feel loved by the way they are treated.
Children ages four to eight years old were asked, “What does love mean?” Their answers showed that they saw love as how people act toward each other, for example, Danny -age 7 said: “Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy, and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure it tastes okay.” Tommy – age 6 offered, “Love is like a little old woman and a little man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” Jessica – age 8 stated, “You really shouldn’t say, ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”
As Christians, we are called to follow the example of Jesus who acted in love towards everyone meaning that he showed love to those who loved him and those who didn’t. Jesus acted like a good shepherd who would die to protect and save his sheep. Some will die for a loved one, like a child, or a friend but who will die for a hateful enemy? Jesus died for all people in that all are sinners unable to save themselves before God. Jesus was God’s sacrifice of love to take away our sins before God. That is why Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Love one another as I have loved you.
Loving others begins by loving ourselves in the truth that God loves each of us personally like the unique individuals that we are. In grace or undeserved love, God does not count our sins against us because we have faith or trust in Jesus. Showing love is like the good Samaritan in the Bible who helped a beaten stranger at the side of the road. It sees yourself as the one who needs help. It is passing our grace on to others.