Heartprints

No Greater Love, Teaching our Children Unity

 

I had a conversation with a friend last week about candy. It went something like this.

“Do you remember Chick-O-Sticks? “Oh yea! I loved those!”

“What about that candy bar that was so hard it almost pulled your teeth out?”

“Oh! You mean, Bit-Of-Honey?”

“No, it was some kind of caramel candy bar.”

“Oh yea, what was that called?”

“I don’t know. What were those called? Now that’s going to drive me crazy trying to remember!”

We talked about our favorite candy and how we remembered the packaging on some but, it was the type of candy on the inside that generated the memory.

It was such a sweet (figuratively speaking) conversation. It reminded me of my childhood and the innocence of that time in my life. As you mature and get older, you realize your reality is not the same as everyone else’s.  Every day that passes, it seems that is truer. Less and less good news is reported. Smart phones, pictures, videos, and social media bring us closer to one another and what is happening in each others lives. These devices and sites hold us accountable at times, and definitely provoke us to action.

As I have watched racial events and terrible unjustices unfold over the past months, my heart aches and grieves for all those who have been the victims, those who have died, and those left grieving.  I feel pain and sorrow, anger and fear. I wonder how families heal from such unspeakable losses. It seems we barely begin to mourn one major tragedy and another begins.

 While I can’t totally understand someone else’s pain if I have not walked in their shoes it doesn't mean that I don't care. I care. So what am I to do? What are we to do? What are we to teach our children? How do we show unity and love? In John 15:13 it says, 

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I saw that verse modeled by our brave police officers. I have seen it modeled in a mother grieving the unjust death of a son and choosing forgiveness rather than revenge. I have seen it modeled by all races coming together.

I can't understand certain injustices. But I can care. I can love. I can teach my children to love. For example, put me in a room with divorced women, single moms, survivors of different kinds of pain and hurt and I can identify all day long with those situations and hurts. I get it because I have had some similar life experiences. But everyone is different. Our hurts, injustices and pains differ, so there is no way for me to fully understand every hurt in the world. Nor would I ever want to compare my hurt to someone else’s.But, that doesn't mean I cannot love and show others the love of one who can understand all pain–Jesus. 

All of these events have caused me to do a lot of thinking and soul searching and praying. As a human being and as Believer in Christ I am told how to conduct myself when I encounter difficulties and injustices in life.

In Romans 12:9-21, it says,

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[
e]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Over and over again, we are told to do what is right. Love one another. Don’t repay evil for evil, but overcome evil with good. Live at peace with everyone.

I think that Christ tells us this not only for other’s benefits, but for our own well-being. I believe it is only through the love of Christ that we will find unity and peace.

So back to the candy bar discussion, when you buy or get your favorite candy the first thing you have to do to get to the candy is take off the wrapper. It’s what is on the inside that is good. Sure the wrapper looks great, but it is just that, a wrapper, which got me to thinking about another conversation I had with my friend.

What if we were all blind? What if we were all blind? What if the entire world was blind? Would it be a better place? He thought so, because then we wouldn’t judge a person by how they look, or what they wear, or even their skin color. Maybe we would listen to their voice to "see" who they are. Maybe, just maybe, we would be blinded by love and truly see one another for who they are.

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Sherry Shepherd is an experienced, adaptable professional specialized in writing for faith-based organizations. She has worked as an editor and writer for newspaper, movie guides, publishing houses, churches and several non-profits. Her scope of work includes corporate and fundraising materials, advertising, web, brochures, booklets, books, blogs and biblical training materials. However, her heart is drawn to any type of creative writing, where she can motivate while conveying a biblical message and telling a story. Sherry is the mother of three grown children, who have been the source of some of her greatest joy, laughter and material!