If there were no evil in the world, it would be easy to love others. We would love them, and they would love us in return. We would be kind toward others, and they would be kind toward us. We would want to offer our love to others because we would comprehend the value of love. However, in our earthly existence, loving others is often a sacrifice. We do not always make time for those we love. We hurt one another, and we become angry toward one another. In order to love perfectly, as God loves us, we must be willing to deny ourselves, deny our pride and self-centeredness. We must be willing to love others, even if they do not return that love. We must be willing to forgive those who hurt us and even love our enemies. These are the crosses we bear in order to love others as God loves us.
Many believe that love is a warm feeling we experience when we care about someone deeply. However, Christ taught us that love is an action we take. It is what we do for others, unconditionally, in spite of what we "feel." Love is a giving act, a giving of ourselves and a giving up of our egos, our pride, and our self-centeredness. Genuine love is always offered in humility. Christ's kind of love is for everyone, regardless of whether we are worthy of that love or not. Christ gives His love freely. We just need to receive it and love Him in return of our own free will.
Excerpt from A Journey Toward Perfection:
Loving others is not as simple as it sounds. Perfect love is called charity because it involves a sacrifice, a giving of oneself. It is a decision we make of our own free will. God showed His love for us by allowing His Son to be sacrificed for our redemption. We sacrifice ourselves, our selfish needs and desires in order to give love. Because charity is unconditional and expects nothing in return, we even sacrifice our need to be loved in return. We love simply because we are filled with God’s love and choose to express His love for us by loving others. Christ declared that “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). When we deny ourselves, we are able to love perfectly. This sacrifice can also involve suffering, as it did with Christ. Notice, He told us to take up our crosses. Denying ourselves creates a conflict within us because we are giving up or sacrificing our selfish desires or self-centeredness. This is why our conscience troubles us. It is the conflict between what we want and freely expressing perfect love. When it comes down to it, what we want often prevents us from being filled with God’s love.
© 2017 Helen Kamenos All rights reserved