Isn’t life about learning how to love yourself, others and the Creator of the Universe?
It grieves me that people I dearly love are missing the purpose of life. If that’s not what we’re called to do as human beings on this minute planet that exists in a vast and infinite universe, then what is our purpose? To see how much wealth we can accumulate? To see how many times we can win an argument? To become famous? To trend on the internet? To see how many likes we can garner on social media? To rule the world? To isolate the people we deem inferior because of the color of their skin, sexual preferences, or political stance, so we can look superior? To see how many people we can bully, insult and abuse each week?
We’ve had thousands of years to figure out what works and doesn’t work when it comes to learning how to live harmoniously. Mankind gets a failing grade when it comes to achieving peace. Too many of us simply lack the skill, wisdom and compassionate heart to get that right. I realize we live in a broken, fallen world because of rampant sin. Hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, greed, alienation, immorality, selfishness and entitlement has led some of us to a precipice that threatens to destroy us physically, spiritually and emotionally. Because we’re prideful and obviously missing the point, blinded by those very things that eat us up from the inside out, relationships that could breed joy, happiness and fulfillment are being lost or compromised. And for me, that’s heartbreaking. Is it time to try a new approach? Maybe one that is precipitated on love?
I lost a dear, sweet brother nearly three years ago. He died of complications following a stroke. And I’m slowly losing my mother to a disease that’s robbing her of her memories.
Life slips by so quickly. We lose loved ones unexpectedly. And we lose a little bit of other loved ones day by day. Loss has a way of shifting one’s perspective. Grief, inasmuch as it is crippling and painful, it does bring clarity. And for that I’m grateful to have grieved because it has helped me figure out that life is not about fame, fortune and power; it’s about nurturing and cherishing relationships–learning how to love each other, be kind to one another and share in each other’s journey however difficult, blessed or ordinary it might be.
It’s true that hurt people hurt people. People disappoint, betray and reject us. Disease, violence and loss debilitates us. No one promised life would be easy and without trials and tribulations. It’s challenging, exhausting and unnerving. And yet it’s lovely, precious and satisfying.
Faith and trust in a Higher Power does bring unspeakable peace. Learning to be content when you have and when you have not helps you maintain joy. Worshipping instead of worrying; loving unconditionally; and praying without ceasing inspires hope and keeps us anchored.
Whatever we sow, we’re going to reap. If we hold on to bitterness, anger, hostility and vengeance, it will eventually destroy our body, mind and spirit. Refusing to forgive someone whose hurt you or that you’ve perceived hurt you does more harm to yourself than it does to the person you’d like to “pay back” for something they’ve done. Failing to extend grace keeps you in bondage; a prisoner in your own mind and body.
What have you gained by bullying others? What have you accomplished by trying to manipulate, divide and control others? What benefit is there in dismissing someone because they don’t always agree with you? What have you mastered by proclaiming yourself victor, prepared to trample on anyone who gets in your way? What have you achieved by ignoring others who only wish to partner with you, get to know you better, spend time with you, despite our differences.
Unfortunately, it’s more about losing than gaining. You lose an opportunity to be a peacemaker. You lose the chance to unite others. You lose an opportunity to brainstorm ideas on a search for better outcomes. You lose yourself in the mire of self-pity, drowning in a cesspool of emotionally-charged muck. You lose the chance to be inclusive, and so you build walls and shut people out. And behind those walls loneliness grows like a pervasive weed in a well-manicured lawn.
Where does love fit in to all of this? Harboring unforgiveness and bitterness blocks the ability to love, I believe. It keeps you ensnared in a web of anger and hatred that clearly erodes and damages from the inside out. Without love, you’re only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal–a noisemaker that injures, undermines and destroys relationships. Instead, be the whole symphony: unifying, harmonious, complimentary, and a beautiful blend of all its parts.
God’s Word says love moves mountains, covers over a multitude of sins, is patient, kind and keeps no record of wrongs. He commands us to love each other deeply, including our enemies, be devoted to one another, and be compassionate and gracious. Above all, He says, love because He first loved us.
God is love. To know Him is to love Him. I don’t know about you, but I want to learn to love like that. I’m not perfect and I don’t always get it right. And I may never reach the pinnacle of such supreme and enduring love, but I am trying. Truly I am.
I love you, my beloved. And I forgive you.