What is life? It is about loving others. Period. Well, there’s much to say around that to be sure. And along with the creation through Jesus, I would want to include the new creation in and through Jesus. We need that as humans, because our love comes from God as a gift. We see it with all human beings. It is something precious, to be sure. And it is so often violated.
Of course there’s the obvious painful violations when one spouse has an affair, be it emotional or physical. The hurt and pain and mess to clean up afterward will take a lifetime and something of the hurt will always be there. I especially refer to those who fall into sexual sin. Hopefully there is a true repentance that follows and a new course of life charted with the help of the church, which doesn’t simply hold that saying I’m sorry and asking for forgiveness is enough. There needs to be true pentitence over time which shows old patterns of life broken and new ones coming into place. Although I’m not Roman Catholic, I can indeed see good in the practice of penance, of course if it’s not abused.
How do we treat those around us? Including our animals (like cats or dogs)? And our dear families, our spouses and children? Are we present for them? I mean really present, giving our all as needed, day by day, not wrapped up in our own agendas and activities. My record in the past has been spotty in that. Some good, some not so good, some bad. This should be top priority. And the greatest thing we can do in love for our families and others is to consistently pray for them, and be open as part of how those prayers might be answered.
The same goes for our church relationships. Do we really love each other as Jesus called us to? Even as he loved us? And does that work out in practical tangible ways? And what about our neighborhoods, our next door and down the street neighbors? Do we care about them? Do we try to reach out to them, at least chit chat? And the ones we work with day after day? Do we judge that in ourselves which is not loving toward others, perhaps thinking badly of them? Again, do we care about them?
It is so easy to get wrapped up in good things like projects and interests we have. I could easily, if I had enough strength and time get lost in reading day after day. And hopefully with some outlet for sharing something of what I’ve learned. Or a trap nowadays is simply being online. We can be very much present online, but absent right where we live. I know that firsthand as one who is guilty. We have to make the effort to do better. As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13, no matter what great things we do, if we don’t have love, it isn’t worth a hoot (my paraphrase).
When will be grieved over how we’ve grieved others? Or even be aware? Lord help me. Lord help us all.