Stop! Before you read this blog post, please watch this short video from Kid President on YouTube. Pay particular attention to #4. The first time I watched this video, #4 left me speechless.
I am 22 years old, and I wish I had half of the insight about the world that Kid President does. As I have been looking at my Facebook the past few days, I become more and more discouraged by the hate I see on there each day. I will admit, I am not above this. I am strong-willed and passionate, and I am quick to anger when someone hits the wrong button. Let’s face it. Some people are just good at grinding our gears. Some people are just hard to love. But, sometimes we are that hard to love, yet Jesus never relinquishes His affection for us. We are called to strive to be like Him, and love the unlovable. But, that is not the only reason we should love them.
This past month has been LiveLove month at my church. We have talked about ways we can be really intentional in sharing Christ’s love within our communities. One Sunday, we talked about the three forms of love the Greeks talk about: Philia, Eros, and Agape. Two of these we know quite well, because we probably experience them every day. “Philia” is defined as brotherly love or the love between friends, and “Eros” as erotic or romantic love. I myself am a fan of both of those types of love. Agape, however, I am not that great at. It is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. As much as I hate to admit it, my love almost always comes with two conditions: treat me the way that I treat you, and love me back.
Yes, I am human, but that is no reason to not try to be more like Jesus and get beyond my selfish heart. Besides, not only does loving those people whom I’d rather slap (I’m not a violent person, but some people are really really mean), but it just helps me live a healthier, more fulfilled live. Here is my theory on forgiving those who hurt us and loving them despite their actions. Forgiveness doesn’t just help them. The ability to forgive others is one of God’s most precious gifts to us. It allows us to free our hearts from the poison that built up anger and resentment cause. It allows us to free ourselves from the slavery that our grudges place upon us.
Also this month at my church, our small group communities have been studying a book called Love Does by a guy named Bob Goff. In the first section of his book, Goff talks about how he “quits” something each Thursday to make more room in his life for Christ. I’m not sure of anything better to quit or give up than grudges, which is something I have been intentionally working on all month. It is not easy, especially since I have a bit of a temper (most people don’t see it, but come on; I was a “West”). I’m working on it not only because I want to be more like the God who has forgiven me for all of my shortcomings, but also because I want to open up room for the incredible plans and opportunities that He has in store for me.
We live in a world of tragedies. Ebola, Isis, Ferguson—the list goes on and on. Human beings are one of the most diverse species on the plant. The notion that we will have different opinions on matters like these is inevitable. As a teacher, I would always encourage people to be informed before asserting an opinion about something newsworthy, but being informed is only the second most important thing. The most important is love. If we do not act in love, then we act in vain. And I’m not talking about the Philia/Eros kinds of love that come easy. I’m talking about that Agape kind of love. The kind of love it may take our whole lives for us to figure out. That’s ok. The important thing is that we make a sincere attempt to practice it even if we fail.
So, next time someone cuts you off on the highway, says something snarky to you, or, Heaven forbid, offends you on Facebook, try to Agape the crap out of them. They probably need it, but chances are, you need it too.
And now, here’s another YouTube video. I would not be a good little English major without giving credit to my sources. Maroon Five is my favorite band, and I totally ripped off their lyrics for this blog post’s title. Enjoy (both the song and the eye candy)! It is a bit risque, but I can’t help it that Adam Levine looks good even in paint form!