A famous rabbi once said that “you can only ever truly love yourself, and the way to love others is to include them in your sense of self.” Most members of modern society associate love with the passionate feeling that arises from romance, but scripture presents this “eros” as just one form of love. The three other words for love are “storge” (between family), “philia” (between friends), and “agape”, the wide-open love that comes from seeing someone else as an extension of yourself. It’s no coincidence that the world’s most quoted truisms also reflect this reality. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I guess this is why it is so natural to love our children. My boys are literally an extension of me. They look like me. They have my DNA. They are bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. I’d die for them in a heartbeat. And I suppose it feels harder to love people the further they get from that sense of being like me. But the biblical call is to love EVERYONE as an extension of ourselves because that is what Jesus did for us. Recently God has been challenging me in this regard, and the other day he led us to “adopt” a child (providing financial support) through Compassion International. I believe God calls us to give until it hurts, but at $38/month this is a great way to get started, and I’ve heard great things about Compassion as a reputable and well-run organization. God, you are so good to adopt me as your son, even when I turned my back on you. I know I have been designed to live in unity with you and with the people around me. We are one body. Please help me align with this reality so I can more truly love people, as you first loved me. In your son’s name, Amen.
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