I believe in love, not romantic love, which takes our breath away and makes our hearts beat fast (although I do believe that exists), but in choosing love over other emotions. During nearly 60 years of life I’ve been faced with many situations involving people who are not very lovable – sometimes a sibling, parent, friend, acquaintance, client, coworker, or just someone I had to deal with for one reason or another. While I can’t really love the unlovable, I choose to try and respond with love (or call it grace) rather than any of a myriad of other emotions: impatience, annoyance, anger, even hate, to name a few. I saw an example of this in the life of my older sister who died a few years ago and believe my life has been all the better because I’ve tried to live this way.
Although my daughter sometimes calls me “Pollyanna”, as if I’ve perfected this art of living, that’s not true. I’m not always successful at practicing this belief, but it is one of the goals of my life to treat others graciously, no matter how ungracious or unlovable they may be.
A few years ago a contemporary Christian song came out that spoke of believing in such things as faithfulness, peace, honesty, giving for others, trust and love. The words of the song said something like all of that is not enough unless I believe Jesus lives, then spoke of faith that gives strength to go on in difficult times. As one who does believe in the God of the Bible, this song had particular meaning for me. But even without the “Christian” message, the verse held great truth for living a worthwhile life. For you see, I believe that we can believe whatever we want and it will mean nothing unless we live out that belief in our everyday life. It’s not enough to say I believe in faithfulness if I’m not faithful, or to say I believe in giving for the sake of others if I never do it. My actions must give evidence to my belief. Otherwise my lofty sounding words are just so much noise. Or, in the poetic language of the writings of Paul in the New Testament, “If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
I choose to believe in love.
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