The other day, our family picked up lunch on the way home. In typical Sheetz fashion, we ended up with multiple bags of made-to-order junk food. I was sick and not very hungry, so I figured I’d just snack on whatever they didn’t eat.
Once home, with paper wrappings, bags, and ketchup packets strewn all over the table, my 7-year-old asked my almost 3-year-old if she’d share her fries. Since she still had two more hamburger sliders in front of her, I figured she’d happily share.
No such luck.
She responded with the toddler-esque. “No, I don’t wanna.”
My husband typically reacts to these situations with a long-winded, inciteful explanation as to how she should have responded, and today was no different. After a kind, completely one-sided conversation about how we can show love by sharing, my 3-year-old dipped her fry in her ketchup, popped it in her mouth, and said to her brother, ” I love you, but I don’t wanna share.”
I turned to my husband, and (to my defense, as I still wasn’t feeling well,) said, “well, that pretty much sums up humanity, doesn’t it? We’re all about the love, but only if it benefits us in some way.”
Since that day, I’ve taken time to process this, heal physically, and eat the leftover sliders. And I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, humans are innately selfish. Just like my daughter, we all have to learn the art of generosity and putting others before ourselves.
But this isn’t something that comes naturally.
Most of you have probably heard of the 4 types of love:
- Storge: familial love
Agape: God’s perfect, unconditional love
Within all of these categories, the goal of loving others comes with prayer and the right mindset. I’m constantly kicking myself, (in a metaphorical sense. I bruise easily,) when I feel my mind closing inward. So often, I think of myself first and others second. If we’re completely honest, it probably takes a lifetime of prayer and practice to turn our focus outward. We won’t get the agape version down, (you know, the human thing), but we can apply it to every other type of love.
It’s easy when it’s your kids or that sweet old lady who lives down the street from you.
But what about that boss who disagrees with your political views and hasn’t given you a raise in two years? That book critic who you’ve never met but you swear has it out for you? That bully in your kid’s school who sent him home crying?
Those are the tough ones.
I’ll leave you with these tips direct from the One who created love:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 30-31
- Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
- If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:2-7
Feel free to comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts and any other verses that have helped you in this life-long endeavor of loving others.
All Scripture taken from the NIV.