This I Believe

Erin - Manlius, New York
Entered on December 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Love. I hope all of us know what it feels like to be loved by someone: a parent, friend, sibling, or boyfriend or girlfriend. Before we get to far into this, we really must establish what love is. I do not mean a specific kind of love like romance or friendship; I mean love that surpasses such titles. I hope you know what it feels like to really love someone, when it runs so deep it can’t be properly expressed. Love is not a positive feeling toward someone because you like their outward behavior; it’s putting their best interest before yourself, regardless of who they are. It’s easy to feel love; it’s more difficult to show real love.

You know how it feels when someone shows you that they love you. There’s no way to describe how good it feels. It gets rid of all that hatred and bitterness and selfishness that’s ubiquitous on earth. In that moment when someone sacrifices their time to help you, or waits for you even when it’ll make them late, or looks really happy to see you, or lets you rant to them about your hardships because they know you need to tell someone—in that moment, all hostility is gone. If everyone were to always put fellow humans before themselves, including those they don’t even know, wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place?

Over the years I’ve come to understand that this is what the Christian faith comes down to. When I was younger, I thought it was all rules and good behavior. But I see beyond the surface now. When I’m having a hard time and someone says they’ve been praying for me, that’s not because they are obliged to. It’s out of love. When God gave His son to live on earth among us, it was love. And when that son, Jesus, died on the cross by His own choice, it was love! This is what it all comes down to. The Bible is pretty much just God’s love letter to humanity. And not just humanity, but each man, woman, and child. God loves us all with a love too great to be fully understood. Imagine this being the kind of love you feel with your best, closest friends…times a hundred. It’s good to know someone’s thinking about you, right? The Bible says God’s thoughts toward us are as numerous as the sands on the seashore.

The Bible says that the entire “Law,” or all its regulations in the Old Testament, is summed up in two commands: love God and love others. In all those rules, God just wants us to put others before ourselves. So often we, the Church, get caught up in technicalities: not smoking, not lying, giving money in tithes… But it’s love that’s important.

Love is one of the most crucial principles, if not the most crucial, to the way I live my life. I am not nearly as loving as I wish I were, but I keep getting a little closer, and I keep learning more, bit by bit, what love is and the love God has for us. Jesus is the perfect example to follow; he was the most loving person to ever walk this earth. When we abandoned Him, he sought us out again. I’m trying every day to become more like that. Love is important, and we are all to love everyone, and I mean everyone.