That reminded me of that Love is… comic strip from back in the 90s Daily Nation leisure page. Actually, if you Google it, that’s the first result. Anyway, that’s not the point.
Sometimes I struggle. I struggle with a lot of things. Feelings of uncertainty. Feelings of hurt. Holding on to hurt. Holding on to the wrong things people do to me. Feelings of fear. Then right after that comes the guilt. The defence. The rationalization. The waste of time taking things personally (although I will admit I don’t know how else I can take things other than personally). I also struggle with love. With the concept of it. What it is. What it should be. Whether I should even be thinking the stuff I think if I claim to love those around me. Today’s sermon made me think about this. It’s been a while since I listened to a great sermon. You know those guys who preach without shouting? Those guys who are straight to the point and show you things clearly and in all practicability? That was our preacher today.
The word was about love. Passages we know by heart. Galatians 5:22-23. Fruit of the spirit. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Oh, it’s the second result on Google when you search for “Love is”.
4 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.
How often do you think of these words? How often do you put them into practice? When someone fails or wrongs you, how long do you hold that grudge? How long do you demonize them? How much time do you waste getting mad and holding the anger because someone falsely accused you of something? Well, that’s not love. Letting go is hard, especially when you are dealing with an ego. When you feel you don’t deserve whatever it is that happened. But while you brood, the world is moving on. So if you’re not going to do it for their sake, at least do it for yourself. Forgive. We all need forgiveness. We all make mistakes.
When something good happens to a friend and not to you, what is the first thing you feel, joy or jealousy? Some of the things we subject ourselves to are just toxic. Speaking behind people’s backs. You know, spending all your time on social media trying to put people down in the name of retweets and follows. That is just a wrong culture. I will admit I laugh at some of these things though, because I fall into the “it’s never that serious” trap sometimes, even though I avoid it the other times. We have prejudgements even before we know people. If someone looks like this, they are like this. If it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. Well that is not true. For instance, our preacher today, I know him. I would never ever have thought he would be so good at delivering the word. I was not expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised. And the same way I assume someone cannot do something is the same way I assume I can’t do something. So in the end, all our feelings toward others end up coming back to us. Pretty sure that’s why Jesus made it clear that loving someone could only go to the extent of how much you love yourself. Think about it.
When I struggle with these kinds of thoughts and feelings, I try to be quiet, to think. And when I do, I find myself in that mood of prayer when I want to sing. And of late I have been remembering this song we would sing back in high school. We sang very nice songs in high school. Not too sure why I don’t find myself in a place where we sing them anymore. Like this one:
Spirit touch your church,
Stir the hearts of men,
Revive us Lord, with your passion once again.
I want to care for others, as Jesus cares for me,
Let your rain, fall upon me.
Or the one by Brandon Heath. Give me your eyes for just one second. We love because he first loved us. When we let the word richly dwell in us, people won’t need to ask themselves who we are or what we stand for. You know, they will know we are Christians by our love. Not our judgements. Not our self-righteousness. By our love; our fruit. Not just within the church compound or on Sundays or when we know someone who knows us is watching.
Who are you tomorrow?