Love…what a word!
This four letter word, although different in various languages, has a magical power in it. The magical power of love can be attested to by history. Kingdoms have risen because of this word. Nations have fallen because of this simple word. Wars have been started because of the word love. Empires have been ruined and divided on the basis of this one word. Genocides and massacres of whole people groups have taken place all over the world because some people felt they were not loved, or deserved less love than others. People have attempted to wipe out these whole races just because somebody professesed to love his own race better than another…. Love!
Nations attempt to annihilate other nations in war just because they profess to love their nation better than the other one. As a matter of fact, religious wars were started across continents because some people claimed to love their God more than other people’s Gods. Again the word Love!
Indeed most of the conflicts we have in the world today have their origin in what men have come to call Love. Millions have been deprived of their fundamental human rights, because those who deprived them claimed to love themselves and their own minority groups more than the other. The explanation again is Love!
As you are reading this ladies and gentlemen, weapons of mass destruction have been invented. They are powerful enough to wipe out the whole world 100 times over. The justification?… nations claiming to love their own countries more than another. You could call this the absurdity of love.
THE WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA
In our modern age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google plus and Skype etc, mothers have lost their teenage daughters because of this same word love. Men and women have become victim of love scams, because of the word love. Homes have been broken. Families have been destroyed, because of love found and lost over the Internet. Girls and boys have turned their backs on their parents who gave birth to them and invested at least 20 years of their lives raising them up, just because they found love.
Covenant relationships, like relationships between father and mother, parents and children are easily thrown out the window, because somebody wrote those magical words on social media –I love you. Trust has been broken because of this so called love.
There is no end to the tales and stories of the havoc and triumphs that love has wroth. Yet it is through this word love that the greatest evolution in mankind occurred. A man came into the world 2000 years ago and amidst military struggles for empires, he declared the futility of military power. He was ready to conquer the world, but only by love.
CONQUERED THROUGH LOVE
Jesus did what no human being was able to do in the history of humanity. He conquered the world indeed, but not through the power of weapons or military forces. He brought nations to submission, by the power of that singular word- love.
“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
2000 years later, the world does not nearly look how it used to look before He introduced that one word… love. Before He came, nations were never subdued by anything else but war. When He left, nations were not won anymore by wars, but by love. It used to be that military power and strength determined the greatness of a man or nation.
After His love revolution, you are only great according to the amount that you love. Men of love have become greater than men of war. It is He Who declared that for you to become great, you must be small. To become first, you must be the last. It is a paradox that could not have been imagined in the slightest when Jesus walked the earth. But years after His ascension, even government ministers refer to themselves as servants, while the most important of them all, the Prime Minister, is translated as the first of all servants or as the chief servant.
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always. – Mahatma Gandhi
Who does that without the power of weapons? How could changes like this be accomplished without the fierceness of war? Friends, only one force could do this, the force of love. To crown it all, that man from Galilee, declared that only one thing matters in life – LOVE.
According to Him, the supreme assignment and purpose of man on the earth is to demonstrate his abandoned love to God and his fellow man. What? Of all the activities on the earth, do you want to say that the only thing that is important is love? Not building industries? Not governing nations? Not even making money? And it’s not building empires? Not forming armies? Or creating military might? Just love?
“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” ― John Joseph Powell
NOTHING WORKS WITHOUT LOVE
History has come to prove Him right because if you don’t build your industry on the principles of love, that industry will turn into a gas killing machine as Hitler discovered. If you want to govern a nation and you neglect love, we know the futilities of that kind of endeavor, for example segregation in America and Apartheid in South Africa. Is it money you want to make? Without love? Well many have tried it and have discovered only emptiness and some have even committed suicide and ended their lives without purpose. Again friends, history has come to prove Him right.
What about trying to build an empire without love, the most enduring of all empires, which was supposed to be built to last forever, sooner or later discovered the senselessness of such a grand dream. After 900 years of existence, the Roman Empire self-imploded.
Not too many people these days would try to dispute with His concept of love. Too many examples abound to convince anyone who would try to argue, that the new law that this self-proclaimed Son of God brought to earth is now the new order of the day. The world must now run by this order of love. Whether men like it or not, the rules of the game have changed, love is now the order of the day because love is God’s order in heaven. For God Himself is love. The earth does not have much option than to succumb.
THE COMMAND TO LOVE
Is it not about time ladies and gentlemen, for us to give a more thorough examination into why the greatest of all commandments has to be love? If military forces have to give way, are you still having a second thought? If kingdoms and empires are now history, what do you think your end will be if you don’t consider love? According to the Master, the world is made to function by love. Love is the gas that our vehicles run on. Love is the oiling in our engines. It is the motor of our vehicles. When we live by love, things work out well and fine. When we live and act against the principles of love, we hurt and suffer. Life becomes painful. Life becomes unbearable. Life turns into a torturous experience. Because friends, we were made to love.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me now take you to the crux of our message today. Is love a possibility for an ordinary mortal like you and me? Can Christ’s commandment be truly obeyed? Can we individually love our neighbors as ourselves? Is it still practical in our cyber world today to love our neighbor? Or is it old fashioned?
The question most people often ask is, we all see the importance of love but how do I practically do that. How do I practically love people? What if I don’t know them? How do I love people I don’t know? How do I practically love them if I am not sure how I will be recompensed? What are the practical things I could do to make someone feel that I love them? To these questions and more, I wish to give an exposition in this article.
HOW DO I LOVE PEOPLE?
1. JUST LIKE ME, THIS PERSON IS IN NEED OF HAPPINESS
The principle of love expects us to first of all put ourselves in the place of another. We must first of all assume that people everywhere have some fundamental basic needs and desires that are universal. One of these universal needs is to acknowledge for ourselves that everyone, no matter their race, nation, age or sex, is just like us. Every man or woman everywhere has feelings and if they have feelings, they feel what I feel. Everybody everywhere has emotions. They experience what I experience. Meaning I can understand my fellow man, because I can feel what he feels.
“…love people when they least expect it and least deserve it. That is the kind of love Jesus shows to us.” ― Mark Batterson
One of the fundamental needs and desires in the heart of all my fellow men is the desire and the need to be happy. It is natural that men desire and crave happiness even when they don’t realize it. People are always looking for happiness.
Dear friends, when you next see somebody, put yourself in their place and assume in your mind, that the person you are seeing, needs happiness and wants happiness, just like you. We all appreciate it when somebody comes to us and makes us really happy. On the one hand, we are all excited about the fact that we are giving joy and happiness, but on the other hand, someone else around you is waiting that you or others would also give them happiness.
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. – Robert A. Heinlein
Selfishness however makes men only want to think about themselves. They refuse to remember that just like they desire happiness, so does every one of their neighbors. Just like me, this person I am standing with right now, wants to be happy. Onсe that understanding is reached, you must add to your understanding action. If it is true that this person in front of me wants to be happy just like me, then I must ask myself the question, how can I make his dream and aspiration for happiness come true?
So each time you meet people, don’t just recognize that they want to be happy like you, but more importantly ask what you can do to facilitate the joy and happiness of these people. If you don’t have the money to facilitate what these people need, you still have something to add to their joy.
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” — Victor Hugo
But the key factor here is to recognize the fact that you are focusing not on yourself but on meeting the needs of the other. Your focus is the happiness that the other man is craving for. Do something about it. Contribute, maybe through your smile, touch or embrace. Contribute something, just to make sure the man gets some happiness, just like you desire to have.
The paradox of life is that what you do to others, God promises to do to you, so your act of kindness is never lost. It becomes a seed that comes back to you in the form of a harvest.
“And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God.” — Les Miserables
2. JUST LIKE ME, THIS PERSON DOES NOT WANT TO SUFFER!
Pain and suffering is a source of great fear in our world that is entrenched in so much evil. Pain and suffering has become almost unavoidable. Many ordinary men and women are only left to dream and wish that they could avoid some pain and suffering in their lives. There are some other groups of people in our world today who cannot even dream of avoiding pain and suffering, they live in them, sleep with them and wakeup with them. The reality of their lives is such that, pain and suffering is everywhere.
“Who doesn’t want to know that we notice them and value them? And who might respond to us better when they feel that they matter? It probably cannot be overstated – it matters…that people matter.” ― Steve Goodier
How do we show love to these kinds of people? We must start by speaking to ourselves “just like me, these people don’t want to suffer.” The preface “just like me” is extremely important here. Do I want to suffer? Do I crave pain and suffering? No I don’t. We should look at the other side of the coin and put ourselves in the place of those who are suffering. Just like me, they don’t desire to suffer. This is where empathy is born. But our empathy must lead to altruism.
“Never stop loving while living, when you stop loving, you stop living.” ― Kemi Sogunle
It is this type of practical love that can cure our world. As I am writing this, pictures of desperate, suffering women and children in third world countries are flooding my mind. These types of suffering masses are so much prevalent in our world today yet, they could easily be cured by an act of practical love. If we could only put ourselves in their place, if we could only turn it around on ourselves that just like me, these people don’t wish to suffer, then we would want to do something about it. Especially when we could do something.
“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” – Jodi Picoult
In the developing nations of the world, some of the solutions that they need are as little as 1 USD a day. If we would only stop for a minute to consider that these people are actually suffering, if we could only reflect on pain, if we could only remember our own experiences of pain and suffering, then we would understand love. Then we could understand why we must reach out to reduce the pain and the suffering and the calamity of our fellow men and women in our world.
3. JUST LIKE ME, THIS PERSON HAS EXPERIENCED SORROW, DISAPPOINTMENT, FAILURES AND ABANDONMENT.
When we realize that other people have experienced the feelings of pain, loss and other strong feelings that are common to men, it should make us stop and reflect. If I remember my sorrow, then I can understand the person in sorrow. If I remembered my sorrow, I wouldn’t just want to understand him, more than this, I would want to give him any assistance possible, for him not to abide any longer in that sorrow.
“Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
That is how love works. Because I have experienced disappointments, I can understand the disappointed. Unfortunately though, people often waste their experiences, we don’t turn them into tools of love. Your disappointment must not be in vain. Your disappointment has to be turned into a source of wealth for yourself and for others. Love does this.
If I was ever disappointed, I don’t want to sit down in my feelings whining, murmuring and complaining in depression. That is what happens when my experiences force me into self-pity. When my experiences turn my attention selfishly inward, then my experience is not only wasted, but also life becomes even more torturous. The answer to this is love. Love takes a bad experience from inside and turns it outward. Love takes my disappointment from inside and turns it outside for the encouragement of others. If I was discouraged, love says I should not permit others to go through the same kind of discouragement. I reach out with understanding. I reach out to share. I take my focus from myself and put it onto others, that they might learn from my experience.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu
My failures are not wasted only thanks to love. Love compels me to want to share with others what I learned in my failings. My experiences of failure must not be wasted. They become wasted when they are turned inside in self-pity. When I raise my head up however and look for those failing around me and share my story with them, I become their deliverer making them and myself happy in the process. I can even take my experience and fortify those that have not yet failed that they might start learning from the mistakes that I made, that led me to that failure.
Thanks to love, those who were abandoned can now take their experiences and lessons and turn them into wealth so that even nations can be fed, like in the case of Joseph in the land of Egypt. Joseph was abandoned first in the pit and then later in the dungeon. But his abandonment became the source of storage, hope and sustenance for all nations. Love makes that possible. Love does not allow you to waste your experience. You can turn it around for the enrichment of others.
4. JUST LIKE ME, THIS PERSON WISHES TO HAVE HIS NEEDS MET.
We are living in a world of needs, dire needs. If you ever face a need which we all do, love turns your needs into your resources. When next you see people in need, remember the moments you were in need. Go ahead and convert your memories of pain and lack into an energy to fuel your passion to help others. Whenever you remember your pain, your sorrow, your lack, that remembrance is always associated with some feelings. Now switch that around to recognize that, those people in pain before you right now, are presently experiencing what you had experienced. Hence, they also need the same intervention and help as you had once needed.
“You can talk with someone for years, every day, and still, it won’t mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever…. connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.” ― C. JoyBell C.
When you reach out to others in love like that, you convert your minus into a plus. Your negative energy, becomes a life giving positive energy in the lives of others. Love changes everything. The most horrible situations can become the most creative under the powerful watch of love. When you know that everyone you see in need is not to be abandoned, neglected or condemned, but to be given some amount of compassion thanks to your own experience of need, then you can ask yourself, what can I do to address the need of this person? The needs you see should spark your love, the lack around you should provoke your response. Needs around us should bring us closer to God. For God is love and anyone that loves, moves a little bit closer to the God of love Himself. So let your responses to other people’s needs be inspired by the love that you have for God and for men. Thanks to that love, you could ask yourself the question, how to best minister to the needs before you.
Even if it seems to you that you do not have anything to meet the needs of the people you see around you, you can still tell them the stories of how you overcame. You can share your stories with them. You can give them a word of encouragement. You could cheer them up. When we act in love, we get a little bit closer to God.
Dear friends, there are several other points I wish to share with you in this article, but I will hold them back and share the remaining points in the second part. It is my hope that love would no more remain a vague doctrine and theory to you. I hope through this article you have been able to see the practicality in love. I hope your heart has been softened by the touch of love reaching you from these pages. I hope that from now on your response to the world around you is more constructive than ever, bringing solution rather than despair.
Today, no religion rivals Christianity, though one of the youngest of all the religions. The power of love has turned the world upside down in just 2000 years. The rules of the game have changed with the introduction of love. Nations are no longer how they used to be, while empires are all but history. Love replaces everything with itself.
It is my prayer that you submit yourself to an abandoned lifestyle of love. For he that loves, knows God. And he that loves not, does not know God, nor has he seen Him, for God is Love.