His story 21: Love’s ways

I am sure most of you would like a life with a lot more harmony in it with the people around you, and even with those far away.
Who likes war after all?
Only those who are set on having more power do.
But wars start with just a few people that have a wrong attitude of heart.
If we (subjects) were government leaders than perhaps there would be a lot more wars than we would think.
We all have a tendency for power, to be in control and above others.
We all tend to take care of ourselves first.
And then when it is convenient we might look out for others as well.
But others certainly do not hold the same esteem in our lives as we esteem ourselves. Usually.
I know this may not sound bad to you since after all who takes care of us if we do not.
By no means I am saying that we should ignore taking care of ourselves if that is the only way we have time to take care of others.
Yet I believe a right balance is possible.
If we value ourselves properly, not more or less than others, I think there is still enough room to hold other people in the same esteem as we hold ourselves. And that we can look out for them the way we look out for our own welfare and benefit.

You may never have hurt anyone physically yet there can be many ways to harm a person.
Even gossip or thinking bad about someone in your own heart can affect how that person is treated, either by you or someone else.
You might feel very righeous in the way you treath others, yet in my opinion, and I believe this is what the bible teaches, you can hardly call it love if you are only kind and helpful to those that are kind to you.
You may think that is common sense but if you think about it a bit longer you will come to the conclusion that it is pure selfishness.
Love cannot be earned.
If you love only those that reciprocate your love and kindness then you are really only looking out for yourself and not loving others at all.
Love is not about you but about the other.
It is about what you can give, not what you can get.
Love is not offended when it is not returned.
It is even not offended when it is straight out rejected.
Now you might wonder why you would even want to love others if this is the case.
And why you would even want to love ALL people.
But it is hard if not impossible to draw a line.
Where would it be?
Only loving your partner and family and friends?
Perhaps your colleagues as well?
How about neighbours?
And what about the people you meet in stores and on the streets?
How about people you never met but are in need of help that you could give?
The thing is that if you only love a few you choose you probably do not love them as well as you think you do.
Your love probably has conditions.
But even if you love them well, or seem to, you might have to ask yourself if that love really is about the other, and not about what you can get from them.
If you do not love them like you love pizza…
You love it for what it does to you, but you would not make a sacrifice for its sake. After all it is a lifeless thing you only get to fill your appetite.
You might sacrifice your hard-earned money to get one, yet even that sacrifice is for yourself. Not for the pizza’s sake. But for the sake that you get that pizza.

Now if love is about giving, about expressing it instead of trying to get your own needs met, then why would you want to limit love?
Of course you can only marry one person (at least in my culture) and I am not suggesting you should have more than one partner.
But obviously that is not what I am talking about here.
I believe that true love is a posture of the heart that either you have or you do not.
It really is a choice you have to make but if you love only a few I do fear that is not love at all.
If your affections are really love than you do not want to limit them.

Now you do not have to give what you do not have.
You do not have to muster up this love all by yourself.
God is love and He is the source of our loving.
You do not have to be afraid you will be left empty if you love everyone around you.
This does not mean you have to be every one’s best friend.
You do not have to solve all the worlds problems all of a sudden.
But you do your part and are kind to all people.
Yes all!
The same way you would want all to be kind to you right?
Even, or should I say especially, those that are not kind to you.
It is not about what people deserve.
You probably do not deserve it either that every one is kind to you all the time.
Just be honost.
Yet when you are grumpy yourself you need people’s kindness the most.
And God knows that.
He knows that we do not deserve his love.
But that we desperately need it.
And it is actually through his kindness in our most undeserving state that we change.
We become soft and tender.
And we will want to obey him instead of seeing submission to him as something slavish. Rather it becomes an act of love.
Did you know it gives more fulfilment to give love than to receive it?

To be continued…

Free Gift