Have you ever been good friends with someone you never shared a personal story with?
Is it the people you know and love best who you are comfortable enough with to let your guard down around?
To me it’s challenging to think about what it means to love other people, because I’m not too good at it. I forget to tell people things about my life. I don’t always make enough of an effort to get to know people I meet.
But something I do know is that you get out of something what you put into it. The people and relationships you put effort into – those are the ones that mean the most. And it’s often the case because those are the people we are ourselves around. We let people see who we really are, not our highlight reel on Instagram.
To love others is to be vulnerable and allow ourselves to take risks by sharing some of our deepest stories, fears, and hopes.
This, I’ve been thinking lately, contributes so much to our society.
We’re terrified of being hurt, getting sick, and having our hearts broken. But didn’t you know? Broken bones heal stronger. Sore muscles heal tougher.
Love requires that we allow ourselves to be known for who we truly are, while at the same time seeing the imperfection of others before us and loving them anyway. We are called to love people as God sees them: as creatures made in His image and likeness with an inherent dignity nothing can change.
Over spring break, I was thinking about this quite a bit – being able to love people regardless of what they have or have not done. It was challenging me. I wanted to be able to love people for who they are, not what they have done.
So what did I do?
I asked God to help me be able to see people more like He does.
Which might sound kind of silly. But! I prayed about it. I was thinking about people in my life who are hard to love. One of the other girls on the trip and I really didn’t click, and I had been finding her a bit annoying. Sorry, but it’s true. Not all people are easy to get along with. But wouldn’t you know? That night we ended up next to each other at dinner, and I couldn’t stop thinking about this whole concept. She shared some things about her life which helped me appreciate who she was on a deeper level. And for the first time on that trip, we talked for quite a bit and I could see past what had been annoying me. God is so awesome how he answers prayers.
Love is complicated, and it’s expressed in so many ways. One way we seem to have forgotten about is through sacrifice. I’m fairly convinced that if we could truly appreciate the beauty of sacrifice, a lot of relationships would be healed. Our families would be much better off.
Love and sacrifice call us outside of ourselves. It calls us to see others for who they are, not what they have done. There is something true, beautiful, and good about love which draws us out of ourselves to put the needs of others above our own.
Love requires us to be ourselves, to be vulnerable, and to let the ones we want to be able to love take a look inside of us. Golly, that’s hard. But that’s what love seems to come down to. It’s kind of like the “to love another person is to see the face of God” thing. Loving people is like that: working on seeing the value in them not for what they have done, but for who they are.
Each person is valuable and worthy of being loved, even with all their faults. Because let’s face it: we’ve all got ’em.
Lets work together to see each other’s value in a new light, striving to see the dignity we each posses regardless of where we’ve been, what choices we’ve made, or the unique quirks about our personalities. Because in the end, as some famous person said, all that will matter is how much we loved. Challenge: accepted.