“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:7-11, NIV)
In the light of yesterday’s post, I couldn’t help but share the one below. It’s not my writing and I unfortunately do not know the source other than FB, but I loved the story and the illustration of how we are called to love everybody! And everybody includes the lovely and the unlovely – the easy to love and the not so easy to love.
A Dog’s Purpose (from a 6-year-old).
“Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.
He said, ”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”
The six-year-old continued, ”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
• Live simply. • Love generously. • Care deeply. • Speak kindly.
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
• When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
• Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
• Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
• Take naps.
• Stretch before rising.
• Run, romp, and play daily.
• Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
• Avoid biting when a me simple growl will do.
• On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
• On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
• When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
• Be loyal.
• Never pretend to be something you’re not.
• If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
• When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.”
So friend, who is God calling you to love today? I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, but I have a few folks in my life that rub me the wrong way – a few that aren’t the easiest for me to like, much less love. (Fessing up again!) But nonetheless, God calls me to love them, so I try hard to love them through His eyes. I fail sometimes. I succeed sometimes. But God calls me to love them all the time no matter what.
John explains the why behind God calling us to love others in I John 4:19-21; “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m not into being called a liar nor being told that I cannot love God nor that I don’t know God! So, won’t you join me in this journey of loving the unlovely? Loving the not so easy to love? Loving those who rub us the wrong way? Loving unconditionally?
Lord, thank you for first loving me. Forgive me for not obeying Your word. Forgive me for not loving others as You love me. Help me to love the unlovelies in my life. Give me your eyes and heart to love others as You love me and as You love them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.