Every day, I get up and I try to love people. My family, my friends, my neighbors, even strangers. To treat all with kindness is my goal.
It’s easy to love when everything is going well. It’s easy to toss compassion around like confetti when life is good. When things are going just how I want, I feel like I have an infinite capacity to do good. I’m holding doors, throwing out compliments, saying hello to everyone. But how do we love when things are not so good? When people hurt us? When things in life fall apart? When getting up in the morning and putting on a smile is the last thing we want to do?
Honestly, I still do not know. But I do know this:
“Love is patient…it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Love protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. It never fails.
That’s why we have to love when we really don’t feel like it – because the little bit of love we can give to others can show them that love never fails. By loving people, all people, we can show that there is hope in love, that there is perseverance in love.
When people, even people I didn’t know, did that for me after I hit a rough patch in my personal life, it changed me, little by little. Days, then weeks, then months went by, and next thing I knew, I was a different person. I looked forward to saying hello to people, I felt fulfilled by being kind and helpful and compassionate, I learned how powerful love, even in the smallest of doses, can be. Once you get used to those small doses, your capacity for the bigger doses grows rapidly.
Because of love from the people God had placed all around me, in every corner of my life, I grew from a heartbroken, insecure, and empty being into the happiest version of myself I have ever been.
The love I received from people mirrored the love I’ve been receiving from God all along. – the love that was desperately trying to reach me and finally did reach me once I learned to let it in.
We have to choose to love people, even when it really really sucks, so that we can remind others and ourselves that every minute of every day, we are loved by He who matters most. In His love, we are protected, we can trust, we find hope, and we persevere.
No matter what happens in our lives, it’s our job to be God’s representatives to those who don’t quite know Him yet. Despite the ugly stuff that life throws at us, despite how great or awful the people around us are, despite the difficulties of each and every day, we can love. If nothing else, we can show kindness and compassion and humility and grace and love.
So seek joy in being kind. Take a moment to forget about the Starbucks barista messing up your order or the boss giving away your promotion or the rising price of gas.
Because we were made for so much more.