by Jamie Snyder
Love. No other word in the English language has been used and abused more. Not just by other people, but by me. These are the things that I have said I loved over the last few weeks or so:
- Chocolate shakes
- Pepperoni pizza
- P. F. Chang’s
- The NFL
- My wife (these are in no particular order)
- My two sons: Cy and Cruz
- The new socks I was given for Christmas
See, it’s not just me.
Something has obviously gone wrong when we use the same word to describe our feelings about greasy, fattening foods and our spouses. How romantic. Love.
I have no authority over the English language—not sure who does, but it seems like we need to create a new word for love, because now love means the same thing as like.
Before we were married, my wife actually did invent a new word. She more than liked me but wasn’t ready to say she loved me (even though she did), so instead, one time she said, “I lyve you.” Ahhh. That moment brought to you by Hallmark. Maybe we should all just start using that word when we really, really, really like something but love would be too strong a word.
Let me go first. I lyve pizza. I don’t think it will catch on.
Love has been twisted, tainted, diluted. The word, at least. But start tracing God’s love through the Bible, and you will find that His love for people is intense and relentless and endless. He loves . . . the attractive, the rich, the sought after, the successful, the intelligent, the strong, the overlooked and undervalued, the poor, the marginalized, the weak, the frail, the discouraged.
And when you come to the stunning realization that you are liked (lyved) and loved by God, there is only one appropriate response. To love—God and others.
Undoubtedly we all love the “easy” people and typically ignore the “difficult” ones. To the contrary, study Jesus’ life and you will find he loved everyone.
So here is my challenge to you: Identify whom you struggle to love and find a way to love that person or group of people. Perhaps it involves walking next door to your stubborn neighbor and delivering a meal, or signing up to volunteer at a refugee center.
When loving like Jesus is the mission and purpose of your life, there are going to be times when you travel way off the beaten path; it will almost feel like you have to, but it won’t be a have-to obligation. It will be a have-to opportunity you wouldn’t miss for the world, an opportunity to love like Jesus.