Loving others is sure way to benefit
There is one thing that most of us can agree on. Everyone born into this world has a need to be loved and accepted. Studies have shown that babies from the moment they are born are stimulated by loving words and touch.
As we grow, we reach out to bond with others. Our family, a friend, a group, an organization, all showing this intrinsic desire to be accepted and loved.
This bonding can also have its downside. As we get to know each other more intimately, we will become more sensitive to comments or misunderstandings. This can result in getting emotionally hurt or damaged, which in turn can be a hindrance to us loving with all our heart.
True love will overcome all obstacles. True love will put the other person first. True love is not self-seeking, but seeking the way of reconciliation. True love will walk in mercy and forgiveness.
You might be saying at this point, "That's easier said than done." Yes! But the obstacles in the way should never deter us from reaching the goal of loving without restriction. What a wonderful goal to have in life, to be known as a man or woman who always reaches out to others in love.
This past football season has shown the power of love, the true spirit of aloha. The team displayed a strong bonding with each other, so much so that one ESPN announcer said this team is more spiritual than any others he had seen. Now as they are facing adversity, they have the opportunity to display what Paul wrote: "Hope prevails and love never fails."
The Bible tells us that "God is love." So being made in His image and likeness, we are therefore created as His vessels of love.
The Greeks had definitive words to describe love: "eros" for sensual; "phileo" meaning warm affection, brotherly. "Agape" is to love by esteeming others, a direction of our will.
The word "agape" is used to define God's love. This description of His love is found in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, biblical verses that are quoted in greeting cards for birthdays, friendship, someone special. My favorite part of these verses say, "Love suffers long, is not rude, bears all things, believes all things and Love never fails."
Even though other people might not respond to your outpouring of love, love will never fail you. When we direct our will to love others, regardless of their response, we will benefit. Love will produce in us a character of integrity, stability and compassion. You will have a strong sense of well-being, knowing that you did your best to love others, and no one can rob you of that truth.
As we walk in humility toward others putting their well-being first, we will walk in true mercy and forgiveness and be able to shout with joy, "I've done my best, I've reached my goal and love never fails!"
The Rev. Frank Diehl is the pastor of Tree of Life Christian Center.