Where’s the Love?

These days, I don’t spend too much time online scrolling through my social media feeds or skimming through articles or heck, even browsing the web, thanks to my lack of internet connection at home and limited phone data plan. I don’t even have a newspaper or watch the news on television. There are many times I gripe about this lack; but then I am thankful not to be too connected and wrapped up in everything going on in the world these days. Part of it is guilt – I feel guilty for not paying attention to the world…. But I am so tired of seeing all the hate and disagreements from all sides of every issue. Just…. So, so tired of it. Is anyone else with me on this?

Whatever happened to love? Kindness? Listening? Understanding?

As I sat thinking about this a few nights ago, I became overwhelmed, almost to the point of tears, at the complicated mess we’ve all gotten ourselves into. And as the thought of raising children in this world has been on my mind more and more lately, I am almost afraid. I have hope in our God, but I am so afraid of what our children will see and hear and experience as they grow up in this breaking world. I want to protect them from everything.

What happened? How did we end up here?

Some bible verses came to mind, and I wanted to share them with you.

During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-48:

“You have the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

My take on this: everyone — good and evil, just and unjust — are part of this same world. We are all trying to exist together. We are all trying to find our place — some are sitting in the sun, and some under dark clouds. It is up to us to show love and kindness to everyone, even those who do not show it to us. Because honestly? They probably need it the most. They need to see and experience the goodness to let go of their own demons. And even if they don’t let go of their demons, we are still supposed to be kind and show love. We can do that. You can do that. If we keep our kind words and good deeds to those in our immediate circle of family and friends, how does that positively impact everyone else? Reach out. Serve others. Speak a kind word. Give a hug to someone that is hurting. Love.

In Matthew 22: 33-40, we read this story:

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 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.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [emphasis added]

In Galatians 5: 13-25, Paul writes:

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” [emphasis added]

Can I repeat that? “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Wow! Of course. Aren’t we seeing this right now? So many people are working on destroying other people (through violet protests, hateful words, exclusivity, etc. etc.) that they are in the process of destroying themselves. There is no good that comes from this. At all. Just…. be courteous. Patient. Understanding. Loving.

I don’t understand how anyone who reads the Bible (people who claim not to believe in God and people who claim they are Christians) can debate against one of the most important messages: JUST LOVE. I understand that it might be hard for nonbelievers to grasp the idea that Jesus died for our sins, or that God created everything, or that the Holy Spirit is always with us,… But is it really hard to grasp the message of loving others? If there’s one thing that everyone can learn from the Bible and apply towards their lives, it’s to love others.

God didn’t tell us to tear others down. God didn’t tell us to judge. God didn’t tell us to shoot someone.  God didn’t tell us to hate. God asked us to love. Let Him take care of things. 

Heck, even The Beatles got it: all you need is love.

Jesus gave his life by dying on the cross out of love. For us. For you. Because we all matter.

And all he asks is that we love others too. Because we all matter.

I’m going to try my hardest to show love and kindess to everyone — even when I struggle in the midst of my own hurt and anger. It is not easy. Of course it is not easy. This is not an easy thing that Jesus is asking us to do. But I can do this. Praying for that.

Praying for peace. Praying for love. Praying for an end to the hate.

Praying for you.

 

Joyful June! [324-375]

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Making this short, but sweet. June has been awesome so far. I turned 30, some of my family came to visit Kentucky, and I’m spending time with awesome people and cute creatures. And I’ve had a lot of ice cream! There’s also been a lot of down time, which drives me a bit crazy at times (I kind of need to always be doing something)…. but I am trying to savor it as much as I can now before things get crazy at the end of the year.

So, here are the things I’m thankful for this month (that I remembered to write down — there were days without me remembering to jot down a joy):

324. serving with our small group. 325. seeing smiles on the faces of people we’ve helped. 326. short naps. 327. Kyle’s first car show with his own car. 328. great message at church. 329. kind words from kind people. 330. impromptu lunch at a new spot with our small group. 331. afternoon BBQ for a friend’s birthday. 332. meeting new people. 333. a much-needed cry. 334. hanging out at a lake. 335. getting some sun on my skin. 336. skipping rocks. 337. waves splashing against the large rocks. 338. finally combing out my dreads (this was a painful process) after several years. 339. having a new, tangle-free haircut! 340. a short and sweet visit from some dear people! 341. trying a new ice cream place. 342. bonfires. 343. exploring a conservatory. 344. reuniting with my dearest friends from college. 345. witnessing a beautiful wedding between two wonderful people. 346. making it home safe after a very late-night drive. 347. beautiful blue bird right outside my window. 348. waking up, surrounded by furry, sleeping cats. 349. free coffee at Panera Bread for two weeks. 350. sitting outside, eating a sandwich at Panera with several cute birds keeping me company, waiting for food. 351. the library finally being open again!! 352. turning thirty. 353. well-wishes and birthday love from dozens of people in my life. 354. ice cream adventure with a friend. 355. silly frog popping out to surprise me while weeding. 356. finishing a small art project I’ve been putting off for months. 357. having a stack of books to read. 358. Chicago-style root bee from Costco. 359. sweet yard sale find of two end tables I’ve been looking for. 360. kind people loaning us equipment. 361. free rocks to redo our pathway. 362. my mother and sister visiting for the first time since I moved nearly two years ago! 363. a flood of people in our house, enjoying each other’s company. 364. blowing bubbles. 365. kiddie pool. 366. backyard BBQ. 367. birthday cake! 368. baby goats wandering though the house! 369. Waffle House breakfast. 370. watermelon mint iced tea. 371. tons of leftover food to tide me over for the week. 372. finishing our last class towards foster care certification. 373. my sister. 374. my mom. 375. my dad.

Until next time, friends.❤