Loving on Purpose: It’s Your Turn
What are you waiting for?
When I was hungry you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me, I had no home and you sheltered me.
This is the cornerstone of every religion. But does it really represent us?
How many people can say the you in this passage is me?
No religion makes an exception to this principle. No one says, “unless you are black or brown, male or female, royalty or commoner, rich or poor, or fat or thin.” Any corruption of this passage is human corruption — human judgement based on human interpretations which, shockingly, give the corrupter the advantage. Usually a financial one.
As we left church last Sunday, my wife said, "Perhaps we should look around for another church." When I asked her why, she said, “Because we are not appreciated here."
As gently as I could, I reminded her that all we do in our Church is service work, which we give freely of our time, talents, and finances without any expectation of reward. The minister, in his prayer, had reminded us that good deeds are not the path to Heaven, so appreciation does not matter in and of itself.
Pat knew that. She did not mean she needed to be appreciated. What she really meant was she was tired of being judged by someone else's view of what it means to be a Christian.
I thought that to be a really interesting perspective, and not one confined to Christians. It seems to me there is more judging of others than ever before. A look at the political rhetoric, particularly the American far right and far left, leaves no room for anyone who does not think like they do. They are not willing to even look for a compromise which will serve all.
I have stopped watching CNN and Fox and MSNBC. All I find there is the incitement of hate and the magnification of single words or 20-year-old opinions, as if that is all that is relevant now. What is happening in the rest of the world does not seem to matter.
2 billion Christians, 1.5 billion Islamists, 1 billion humanists, 900 million Hindus, 394 million traditional Chinese religious, 376 million Buddhists, and the rest of the approximately 4300 religions around this tiny globe all believe the same things. First, that it is wrong to take another person’s life; second, that we should learn to care about our neighbours as much as we do ourselves.
So why are people dying in Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, the south side of Chicago, and many other places around the world? Perhaps their definition of love is what is in it for me, rather than what love do I give away.
A simple adjustment changes everything. If we learn to love on purpose, with intention, we change our lives.
When you understand that the only time you can feel more love is when you give love away, unconditionally, you change lives. When you lift someone else's burden, you give them hope. When you help them see their dreams lie in someone else's success, you stir their passion. When you mix hope and passion, the world changes, and everyone is better off. When no one has to take the credit, the outcome is sustainable.
Your turn now. Not tonight, or tomorrow, or when you are richer or have fewer problems. Adjust your outlook on life now. Love on purpose now. The opening statement will give you some clues on how. You are not alone. Start with your family, co-workers, and friends, and connect with me if you need more.