First, some scripture:
“Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action” ( 1 John 3:18).
This verse has spoken to me significantly over the last few months of my life. It is profound in that it moves my heart in ways that I don’t always understand.
It is truth; and as children of God, truth speaks to us.
This verse helped me to realize that I had been leading a superficial life as a Christian. I was loving people on the surface in order to make myself feel better. I would dishonestly say that I loved everyone, that I had a place in my heart for all of creation.
But that love stopped at thoughts and at words. It never formed as something greater than the words “I love you.”
This is my problem. This is our problem.
Far too often we think that love can be love simply if we think it is love. Thought is certainly a good place to start, but it’s the worst place to end.
The dictionary is the only place where love should be described by words. I could try to describe love for you, telling you that it is compassionate, unconditional, generous, forgiving, righteous and just. But where has that gotten you and I?
If I say that I love you, yet I never do anything for you, is that really love?
Christ loved with his actions. Christ loved to the point where his life was sacrificed for us. Christ served humanity. Christ serves humanity. Christ truly loves.
So where does this leave us?
It should leave us with conviction. It should leave us with a challenge. We are called to love the entirety of humanity. Humanity calls out to be loved, and we must answer that call with enthusiastic action. It is not enough to answer the call by saying that we love humanity. We must show this love.
I am not suggesting that you save the world. I am not asking you to be the hero for all of humanity. Good can come from the smallest expressions of love. Start with a smile. Hold a door open for someone. Offer to pay for a stranger’s meal. Talk to someone who has no one to talk to. Do something for someone. It’s that simple.
Now ask yourself, how many people have you truly loved?
How many people have you failed to love?