In honor of Martin Luther King day, I thought about one of my dreams. Do you ever just say to your kids, “Can everyone just get along?” Do you ever wonder, “Why can’t people just do what is right, what is kind, and treat others the way they’d want to be treated?” My dream is for more kindness and goodness to exist… less evil, less deceit, less greed, and less hatred. I know, it seems outlandish and cliché, but it’s what’s on my heart. We can all dream, right? I often think of one of my favorite verses from Matthew:
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
I realize that in order to make my dream a reality, it has to start with me. This is what I am setting my focus on every day… to be a light and to actively move toward that dream. I know I am a small light. I may be hard to see. But imagine how powerful a sea of small lights could be with the body of Christ working together as one! It could become a mighty wave of Jesus’s love shining brightly for all. Imagine!
How can we emulate Jesus and express His love so that our light can be a beacon in this dark world? Well, I truly feel that it is shown through daily, intentional actions. I love encouraging my kids to be like Jesus to someone each day. As Mother Teresa said,
“Do small things with great love.”
As I examine Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV), I find my heart opening even further to my never-ending goal of sharing light and love:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
I want to have kindness and faithfulness that never fails. I want to be more like Jesus every day, sharing love through acts of kindness. I sometimes think of people who express this unfailing love and kindness as earthly angels. Saint Augustine said,
“Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.”
I went through a pile of my old notes and books and I discovered notes from a life coach about how to “find rest” during chaos. Like me, would you like to find a little rest and peace right now? Do you know that most of the questions in my notes all circled back to finding what makes you happy. Remembering moments when you felt content, thinking about what those memories say about your values, and focusing on how you can get that similar feeling of peace or relaxation. If I go back to Saint Augustine’s words, “love is a fulfillment of our works, I think about the times I felt most at peace. In these moments I find that I am usually with those I love. The truth is, we yearn for relationships. It’s how God created us. When we think of creating happiness, we can’t help but think of love.
Serving others with love and kindness will truly create a God-given joy for ourselves as well. This quote from Thomas Merton emphasizes how important the decision to love is in cultivating happiness within.
“A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found…True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love that increases in proportion as it is shared.”
An unselfish love means we have to forgive faults and offer grace and mercy to those around you. Sometimes people are hard to love and you simply don’t feel like being kind to them. Maybe you were hurt or maybe you’re just simply having a bad day. Giving more of yourself in that particular moment feels like the biggest boulder to lift up. Using YOUR strength and persistence actually won’t get the job done though. The strength to offer love in that moment can only come from God. The words from Ephesians 4:32 (NIV), help me as I struggle with the “unselfish love” part.
“Be kind of one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Through Christ, we are forgiven each and every day, even though we are undeserving. Therefore, we must offer that same forgiveness to others, regardless of our feelings or their deservedness.
As we use Jesus as our example of perfect love, let us look to Him for the strength to carry out unselfish acts of kindness. May we remember to make a decision to act in love every day, even when it is hard. God commanded us to “Love thy neighbor as we love ourselves.” Love with a kindness that never fails. Forgive each other as God forgives us. Be kind to each other as Jesus was to those He encountered here on earth. I am not naive enough to think we can change the world with one good act, but it creates a ripple in the water, and who knows who that ripple will touch.
So, can you do something today to bring goodness to this world? What can you do to be a light, an earthly angel, or most importantly, be like Jesus to someone? Lift each other up; not only because that is what He commands, but also because it brings joy to you and others. As we feel joyful, we share more of His love with others and continue to be a light to the world.