“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies…” Matt. 5:43 & 44
Valentine’s Day is such a fun day to celebrate. While the day can seem to be just another card-filled, chocolate-buying, beautiful flower day, perhaps it could be so much more. What if the day marked on the calendar with the shape of a heart could be the day we show an extra bit of love to those who need it the most? What if our children saw love bloom, not only between their parents but between those who may not seem so easy to love? Below you will find just a few thoughts to help us love others…when love doesn’t flow quite so easily. When we have to purposely choose to reflect the love of Christ to others.
1. Think before reacting to unlovely actions. What kind of day did this person have before our paths crossed? Will my response show respect?
2. Find the grace to overlook mistakes. Maybe the challenge is to not even mention to the cashier that the discount calculated incorrectly. Or to drink the Coke when you ordered Sprite. Or to give your child one more opportunity to do the chore you requested without losing your temper. The sweet book, I Love You No Matter What is a great resource to help your child understand that mistakes do not erase love. Love overlooks mistakes.
3. Sincerely apologize for hurting someone, even when the hurt was not intentional. Sometimes our mouths open and the words that come out aren’t intended to hurt, but they do. The little factor of “interpretation” comes in and it sounded one way in my head, but it completely sounded like another to someone else. The two words “I’m sorry” can go a long way.
4. Extend help. Sometimes no words are necessary if we respond graciously in action. For example, simply smile and mop up the spill with an “oops!” Or grab the closest trashcan and begin to pick up the broken pieces. Action performed graciously shows love and makes a difference.
5. Reach beyond the normal. If normal is a wave, then add a smile. If normal is a smile, then add a laugh. If normal is a laugh, then add a pat on the back. If normal is a pat on the back, then add a hug. One of my Twitter friends recently posted a photo of the orange juice and donuts her sweet family left in a beautiful setting at the end of their driveway for the trash collectors. Men who work normal jobs in the normal work-week, on that day, experienced a very beyond-normal treat.