As I am sitting in front of a screen writing this, I have another, smaller, screen right next to me. This is typically how most of us spend our days. Whether it’s work, a hobby, or the television… we are always in front of a screen. In the same way, we are always in front of people. Unless you live by yourself in the middle of the woods and never leave because Amazon delivers everything to you… people are usually close by. Day in and day out, you usually have a conversation with someone. God thinks that people are the most important thing outside of Him. Just like using screens has become a modern-day necessity, we should make truly loving people a necessity.
Let’s be completely honest… loving people is hard sometimes. Some people are just straight up rude. Some people never have anything good to say. Some people refuse to listen. And some people just don’t seem to like you either. That’s the funny thing about love, though. Love is different than simply liking a person or wanting to be around them all the time.
We tend to learn this as kids with our siblings (only child… you have cousins… or even use your parents for this example). You and your sister or brother are playing so tenderly and quietly together when all of a sudden: pure havoc. They looked at you funny. You scream for your mom. You get in trouble (are you kidding!?). And at that moment, you never want to see anyone in your family ever again. Some of you may have even packed your bags and made it halfway down the street before realizing… you love them. That’s when it hit you, even though you may not have understood at the time: love is not based on emotions.
I am fortunate enough to have two siblings, two parents, a couple of friends who have been around more years than I can count on one hand (or two), and a fiancé. All of which I have been in fights with before. All of which I have been angry with for longer than a day. All of which I have had an urge to scream at (and may have acted on that urge). But I love them. 1 Peter 3:8-9 says, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
The gift God gave us of Jesus was the ultimate blessing. Having people in your life is also a blessing. If God can give grace beyond grace to us, why can’t we do the same for the blessings in our life? Not everything is easily forgiven or set aside but we never cast out people or turn our backs on them. Whether you’ve known someone for a day, a year, or your entire life… we are called to love beyond ours or their circumstances.
Matthew 22:37-39 says, “Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” God’s love for us is exactly the guideline we need to follow in loving others. People do dumb things… it’s what we do. But God never walks away from us. He shows his careful, gentle, yet powerful love to us each and every day. We are called to do the same.
Just like that screen that is so needed to complete day-to-day tasks… so is our need to love and be loved. Show people how crucial it is to love by loving them first. Make a habit of showing grace and kindness to everyone you meet. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth something ever is.