“I give to you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34This is such a small phrase, yes so simple, but the hardest thing to achieve. The root of it is inside our relationships with everyone in our lives. When I say everyone, I mean everyone, even the jerk that cut you off in traffic yesterday, or your boss. And I can honestly say, I struggle with this, because of the way this is sometimes not reciprocated in the manner I think it should be. Everyone has a need to be loved and respected by the people in their lives, and we get very jaded when we are not loved the same way in return. It hurts when it is not returned to you.
You know, the person who cut you off may or may not have noticed they did, or even noticed your existence. Still you are upset. Your boss, you know there will be conflict in this relationship, and in some cases you get the feeling you are being setup, backstabbed, or even worse, have a grudge held against you that harms your career. Its a horrible feeling, and you know, it makes you angry inside. In both cases, your love for your neighbor probably does not show through. I have felt this way. Using the worst words that I can find to express this anger. Its a rage that comes from another place sometimes (especially in the second example). Its a toxic feeling, and it can make you want to, or even do things you would not normally do to individuals. Its the hardest thing in the world, to try to push this feeling aside and be the “better” person. It can eat away inside of you when these situations rise. Heaven forbid this happens with a family member, it is even more complicated.
So, then what do you do? Well, in my case, I am still working on this…. and trust me it is a work in progress…….. pray for that person, and try to still treat them with some level of respect. The person on the highway, you may never know, but instead of being angry at them, pray they will not harm anyone. If its your family, you have to talk about it, but as with everything, pray about it first. If you don’t, it will be a struggle that could impact other family members. If it is a friend, you have to evaluate that friendship. You may never get to where you need to be with them, you might have to let them go. If its your boss, all you can do is pray for things to change, and treat them with respect. None of this is easy, but it is all in the name of loving your neighbors on Earth, even if they don’t really love you in return.
Imagine how it must feel the times when anyone is shunned, made fun of, or even martyred for their beliefs. Put yourself in the shoes of that individual. If the person on the other end could only, in that moment, love the other, and have a little compassion and respect, how much pain would be wiped away from this world. Such a simple line, yet so hard for us to accomplish.