Throughout my work, I have often found myself in large cities that were new to me. One of the things that I love most is traveling through unfamiliar streets especially ones that were off the beaten path in order to better understand a host culture. One consequence of this is that I have been lost a lot. I have wandered a lot of narrow streets in Casbah's or Old Medina's all throughout North Africa. One constant has been the helpfulness and kindness of people I have met. They take the time to meet me, show me hospitality usually with something to eat or drink, and instruct me on how to find my way.
Last week I wrote about following Christ's instructions on life's way. Although, He left many directions for His followers, I keyed in on four of them. It is apparent that these were very important to Jesus. If they are so important, then a good follower will be consistent in carrying them out. So time to measure up. Today, I want to look at the first command of the four - love.
Jesus instructed us to love God and love others. Of his teachings, this seems easiest. There are no explicit intricate commands to follow. Just love. Who can't do that? Well, the events in our world suggest that this is much harder than that it appears. The evidence of love is too often in short supply.
There is much hatred, vitriol, and anger in this world. If only we could demonstrate the principle command of Jesus. It is not surprising that this command has its counter parts throughout all religions. God created His people to be in relationship. The cornerstone of relationship is love.
Love can be defined many ways, but I like the way Jesus defined loving one's neighbor. When he was specifically asked who is one's neighbor, Jesus did what He was good at. He told a story. This story was about a person that history has come to call the Good Samaritan.
The story is familiar to many people, even those who don't follow the Christian faith. Hospitals are named after this nameless individual. There are even laws named after him. You can read Jesus' story in full in Luke 10:25-37.
Here's what can be taken from the story.
Jesus taught that love was not just an emotion aimed at someone. It is more than just thinking positive thoughts or good wishes towards those around us. It's more than tolerating someone. Jesus makes clear than love is demonstrated by action towards others that embraces mutual care and respect mixed with mercy and kindness.
To accomplish this means much more than saying you love someone. Demonstrating love of this sort requires personal investment of time and effort. To how many people have you demonstrated this sort of love today? How about during this past week? If you are not satisfied with the answer, you can make a change.
Start by asking,
"How will I demonstrate love today
that shows care and respect
mixed with mercy and kindness?"