This I Believe

Andrew - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on January 31, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love
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I believe in love and selflessness. I mention both because it’s hard to separate the two. They are intimately related. Selflessness is putting all the needs, desires, hopes, and hungers of someone else in front of your own. I don’t always do it. In fact, my default desire is to live entirely for myself and anyone else who may come to mind is only an afterthought. But love changes that. Love is continually changing me because real love is the most extreme antonym of selfishness possible. To love someone is to be completely for the other person, to be in their corner entirely for them. Real love doesn’t think about what it gets in return. In fact, pure extreme love knows that it does not even need to worry about getting anything back because it knows it will be fully content in pouring itself out into the other person. I read once that we can’t love someone without being changed. You can’t stay the same. I can’t stay in my selfishness. I either have to take a step out and grow in the warmth of this passion or harden my heart and retract it into the coldness of my soul.

So how did I come across this belief? I don’t have the closest relationship with my parents. I’ve never really been in too many relationships. They were all quite brief and I can actually count them all on one hand and still have a few fingers left over. I have a few close friends. I guess someone might argue that it started with them, but I wouldn’t really say that. I’d say they were only reflecting it from another source. So then, what started this? A lot went into it over time, but it really took off when one of those friends told me a simple line that I had heard probably a million times. She asked me in a moment of my distress and despair, “Andrew, don’t you know God loves you?” This didn’t resonate with me the same way that old cliché phrase “Jesus loves you” always had. For the first time I thought of God’s love not as “oh, God likes me” but that God loved me with true love. When you love someone you begin to truly know the other person and you yourself are known deeply within. I finally understood that since God loves me, he truly wants me to know all of him and for me to know that I too, am fully known. This is the foundation of what has changed my life. I felt safe in this vulnerability before God because it is no longer me defending myself, but being taken care of by God and his love.

Jesus said “As the Father has loved me, I have loved you. Now, love each other as I have loved you.” Since I have experienced such love I can’t selfishly keep it for myself. I have to love others. This is why I believe in love and selflessness.