Five Ways We Can Love Better

Cynthia Herron Encouragement 2 Comments

authorcynthiaherron.com

I don’t remember ever saying “I hate you.” My parents discouraged those three words in our home and we tried to raise our children with the same mindset.

Love the person. Hate the act.

Now, there are things I dislike. Okay—hate, even.

Things like…

Processed cheese.

Black licorice.

Paisley prints.

Cat puke.

A dripping faucet.

Price rollbacks that really aren’t.

And worse things like…

Hardened hearts.

Closed mindsets.

Overblown egos.

Agendas.

Rudeness in any form.

Evil.

To summarize: I strongly dislike (hate, even) things that make my skin crawl. Things that upend my literal or figurative palate.

To be blunt—I hate bad disguised as good.

Dousing cow poop in perfume doesn’t make it smell better. It may change the color, but it still stinks.

Now—regarding people?

Whoa, Nelly.

We’re a mixed-up lot.

Never in my life have I witnessed so much discord and dissension as I have in recent months. We’ve upped our game in call-outs, pay-backs, and pig-headed rhetoric.

We’ve wounded.

We’ve shamed.

We’ve trivialized loss.

We’ve closed doors and killed dreams.

We’ve dined on meanness and requested seconds.

How incredibly sad and ironic, really.

On the other hand, while we decry injustice and espouse grace, we’ve risked integrity masked in platitudes and facades.

We’ve watered down love to a generic, feel-good goop, doled out at whim and will. The word’s become rote—almost ridiculous in the face of today’s high-end concept.

Don’t misunderstand. Concepts are great and well-meaning, as concepts go, but words without action are…well…words.

We’re better than this.

We’re better than dime store hate or vanilla-flavored love.

We’re better than die-hard fallacies spun by  pot-stirrers.

We’re better than the emotion and more than the truth.

Realizing this is a start.

It won’t be easy.

Good things—hard things—rarely are.

Five Ways We Can Love Better

Agree to disagree

Save heartache, avoid disaster. Sometimes, a meeting of the minds just isn’t possible. Sometimes, we’re called to rise above, move beyond, or accept differences. It doesn’t make us less. It blesses us with more. Agreeing to disagree doesn’t mean we’re weak-willed or that we’re giving in. It means our perspectives differ, yes, but we realize we’re better together than apart. When we agree to disagree, devaluing isn’t the goal. Opportunity is. Nothing good can happen when upheaval is a constant. We love better when we remove our blinders.

 

Respect the process

Like the changing tide, life isn’t stationary. The law of averages confirms this. There are highs and lows, valleys and mountaintops, dark forests and sunlit paths. And it’s all a process. There’s no getting around it, but to plow through it. We love better when we allow the crud to refine—not define—us. Collective experiences teach us patience and grow our perspective. We’re less likely to nitpick and more inclined to appreciate.

 

Forgive

As theologian Lewis B. Smedes once said, “Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” Read that again and allow it to wash over you for a moment. Notice those key words that jump out. Recognize something there? We have a choice. We love better  when we’re motivated by something bigger than ourselves.

 

Share the salt

In school, I knew a student who others seemed to flock around. She didn’t criticize or gossip. She took the high road. She shared the salt and shined a light. (Matthew 5:13) By example, she taught others to love more. To step out of their comfort zones and surpass their own goals. We love better when we choose good role models and mentors. We love best when we live by example and share what we’ve learned, too.

 

Say no to crumbs

Adversity makes triumph sweeter. We grow and move forward. We don’t settle for pie crumbs when the pie awaits us. We love better when we’re not ruled by ego, but guided by love.

 

May we love better together today.

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PLEASE SHARE THE LOVE

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Original Image Credit: TerriC/Pixabay

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Encourage someone today ~

Much Love and Many Blessings,

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