Recently, it seems we have been going to a lot of funerals. Little Oliver, at just a month old, has already been to two! In the past two years, Cory lost his Grandpa and his aunt, and I lost a Grandmother, and two uncles, plus several great aunts and uncles; so we’ve spent more time than usual at funerals, viewings, etc.
Maybe it’s weird, but sometimes when I go to funerals, I think and wonder about my own funeral. I wonder what the sermon will be about, and what songs they will sing. But mostly I wonder what people will remember about me when I’m gone. It inspires me to be more mindful of my thoughts, my attitudes, and my words.
When I’m gone, what will people remember? Will there be any reason for them to mourn my passing, or will the visitation and burial be carried out as a mere formality? When folks shake my husband’s hand and give him their sympathy, will they feel any sadness themselves?
How can I live my life in such a way that my absence would leave a void? I don’t need flowery words spoken about me at my funeral; I just want to know, that in my life I made a positive difference for someone…
I have recently thought a lot about the fact that Jesus gives the commandment to love more priority than any other commandment. This is how men know we are His disciples, if we love one another. On the commandment to love “hangs the law and the prophets.”
So what is love? Is it a warm fuzzy feeling that I have toward people who I always get along with?
The feeling I have when I hold my sleeping child and think I could just keep holding her all night instead of putting her in her little bed?
The way I felt last week when in the craziness of an extra-hectic day, Hubby walked in carrying pizza?
Well, I have all these; so am I safe to assume all men will know that I am Christ’s disciple?
Oh… What about my enemies? (What enemies, right?) I’d love for you all to think that I don’t have any. That I live in a little world of perfection and everybody loves me.
But, last time I checked I still live on earth, a human among humans. And there are people who don’t love me. Or at least they don’t like me very much.
I’m pretty realistic, so I can see plenty of reasons why not everyone would like me. For one thing, I talk way too much, and to make matters worse I don’t always think before I speak. Sometimes when I’m talking to someone, my mind hops from one thing to another, and suddenly I say something completely random that doesn’t even apply to the conversation.
If you have a similar personality to mine, this doesn’t bother you, but if you are reserved and careful when you speak, then I’m the most annoying person you know. 🙂 And that’s ok, you really don’t have to like me; but even if I’m your enemy, the Bible does say you should love me. 😉
Maybe your “enemy” is insensitive and says hurtful things to you…
Maybe they say hurtful things to others about you…
Maybe their personality clashes with yours, and without even doing anything “wrong,” they are just difficult for you to love.
Maybe they have things you wish you had, or a personality or appearance you’ve always dreamed of; and being around them makes you feel inferior and discontented with your own life.
Bottom line: whoever our enemy is, our command from Christ is to love them. Anyone can love their friends. But a true disciple of Christ is one who loves their enemies also.
I think a big factor in showing love to others, is making an effort to understand them. What makes them say hurtful things? Maybe hurts in their own life?
Our differing personalities make us unique, and understanding those differences would likely help us to be more forbearing with the quirks of one another. Doesn’t understanding walk hand in hand with love?
My aunt Evelyn was a sweet lady who passed away when I was 16. She was artistic and poetic; and I wish she could still be here, because I think she could teach me a lot about writing. I wish I had appreciated her more while she was here, but now she’s gone and I have only her memory, and a collection of her favorite poems and writings.
I could remember snatches of this poem that she liked, and I often think about it; but I really had been wanting to find it and read the whole thing again. I finally found it today and it’s longer than I had remembered, so I’m going to just share the verses that I like the best. (Sorry, Thomas Brachen, it’s a great poem; but some of your verses are cryptic and umm… “not understood.”)
Not understood, we move along asunder,
Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep
Along the years, we marvel and we wonder,
Why life is life, and then we fall asleep
Not understood, how trifles often change us,
The thoughtless sentence, or the fancied slight,
Destroy long years of friendship, and estrange us,
And on our souls there falls a freezing blight
Not understood, how many hearts are aching
For lack of sympathy, ah, day by day?
How many cheerless, lonely hearts are breaking?
How many noble spirits pass away?
Oh God! That men would see a little clearer,
Or judge less harshly when they cannot see!
Oh God! That men would draw a little nearer
To one another- they’d be nearer Thee
I don’t know about you, but this poem makes me want to be a more understanding person. It puts into more eloquent language the thought that “to understand is to love.” And similarly, I believe people who feel misunderstood, probably also feel unloved. I pray I’m growing in the area of showing love and understanding to others.
Jesus says in His word that love is the greatest commandment; how often do we as Christians forget this? Even if we keep all the other commandments in the Bible, it will gain us nothing if we don’t show love. Love for our dear ones, and also for those who try our patience, or treat us wrongly.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. (Luke 6:32)
Loving our enemies will never be easy, but Jesus doesn’t give us commands that we can’t keep. When we struggle we can always look to Him for help, and remember:
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Every day I pray that Jesus would make me more like Himself. So far I don’t see much resemblance, but I pray that others can see Him shining from my life.
I want to show love to the unlovable, compassion on the hurting, and understanding to the misunderstood, so that at my funeral, those left behind can be assured that Jesus was Lord of my life, and that His love was flowing through me, to those around me.
Every day of life is a gift, and none of us knows how many more we will get to open. May we live each one in love!
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing
…Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. “