ARE YOU READY TO BE THE WORLD'S GREATEST LOVER?
Our theme this month is . . . ARE YOU READY? Week before last, I asked if you were ready to GET IN THE GAME -- to which you all enthusiastically responded, "Yes"!
Last week I asked if you were ready to FAN THE FLAME - to which you also enthusiastically said yes!
The question this morning, after Valentine's Day, is . . ARE YOU READY TO BE THE WORLD'S GREATEST LOVER!? Whoa! What kind of question is that for church!?a
Not the kind of lover you may be thinking! But rather a lover of humankind! A person who can make a difference in this world through love! A person who can find genuine happiness and contentment through love! That's the kind of "lover" I mean today.
Ernest Holmes in 10 Ideas That Make a Difference wrote: "We must come to . . . realize that at the base of everyone's life there is a sincere desire to love and to be loved . . . Thus, the most valuable thing any one of us can do is to be a little more certain each day that we are meeting life with a greater sense of love."b
But what is Love? From the mouths of children ages 4 - 8:
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So, my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis, too. That's LOVE."
(Not like in the Pickles cartoon in the paper recently when the husband did that for his wife because she no longer could, but then he wrote the words "smelly feet" on her toes!)
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
"Love is what makes you smile even when you're tired."
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Finally -- There are two kinds of love. Our love. God's love. But God makes both kinds.
I'm going to suggest that they are the same kind - ours just sometimes gets filtered out!
So, this morning's question really is . . .Are you ready to meet life with a greater sense of love? Are you ready to experience a deeper and more profound love in your life? If so, I have four ideas to share with you . . .
1. RECOGNIZE THAT GOD LOVES YOU
Ernest Holmes wrote: "Spirit is . . . inspired by love AND Its government is one of love."c
In Children's Letters to God, one child wrote:
I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I'm having a hard time loving all of them."d
The Story of Lightning Bugs
What is the deal with Lightning bugs? Here is this rather ordinary looking flying insect but wait ... it has a glow-in-the-dark rear end! What was God thinking?
Science surely has all kinds of explanations about how this fluorescent fanny is useful for mating and other stuff. But what if, when God was creating all the animals and everything around us, she came up with the idea of the Lightning bug simply because she knew that kids would love it!
We know that God loves us enough to create all the things we need to survive, but could it be that he loves us so much he created some things just for us to enjoy?
We can get so busy surrounding ourselves with man-made goods that we don't notice the living tapestry God has laid out all around us. Perhaps Lightning bugs do have a purpose after all. They are a reminder of a creative God who loves us so much he'd even light up the rear end of a bug ... just to see us smile.
Yes, it is true. God really does love you!
2. TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT YOURSELF SO YOU CAN FEEL LOVED
Children were asked the question -- WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE? Martin, age 10 said: On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
We do that more than just on first dates. We do it a lot so that people will "love" us! But then the love doesn't feel real, because we're not being real in the first place.
Telling the truth about yourself is a critical component in the practice of Real Love (according to Greg Baer) and is the key to experiencing real, unconditional love.
Telling the truth about yourself means telling another person of your mistakes, faults, flaws, fears, etc. You don't do this to dwell in the negative or to wallow in self-loathing or pity, but rather so that another person can see, accept and love you for who you REALLY are, not for who you might be pretending to be.
From children's descriptions of love: "When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you're scared they won't love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more."
3. REFUSE TO STAY ANGRY
What is anger? If you break it down to its most basic element: Anger is a response to not feeling loved.
There is an analogy in Greg Baer's book, Real Love of someone sneaking in your house and stealing $2. First scenario, you are really hungry and the last $2 you have to your name is sitting on the table. You are just getting ready to go spend it on food when someone runs in and grabs it from the table. Are you angry? Oh, yeah!
Second scenario - You are really hungry and have $2 sitting on the table that you are just about ready to pick up and go spend on food when the same guy runs in and grabs it from the table. But in this scene, you have $1 million in the other room. How angry are you now? Not so much, right?
When you feel sufficiently loved, it's like having $1 million in the bank! If someone takes a few bucks from you - not really a big deal.e
Notice, I didn't say, "don't get angry." That's just like saying don't hurt when you smash your thumb with a hammer. If you have the emotion of anger about something - then you have it - it's important to feel it. Stuffing emotions NEVER works. So, feel it. But here's where today's council may differ from others -- Feel the emotion and then go back to our second idea this morning -- tell the truth about it to someone. By telling the truth about yourself, you aren't going to tell how horrible the other person was or what a jerk they were, but you are going to tell how unloving YOU were! This enables you to be loved in the moment by another person, which will help you recognize that your anger will never, never serve you. It will never, never make you more loving -- or happier! Only love will - turn it into love!
Ernest Holmes wrote in the Science Of Mind: "When our minds are filled with thoughts of anger, hatred and resentment, we are pouring into our body poisons in the making. . . . But anger can be turned into love, and the very power that has been destroying can be made to build up."f
4. BE LOVING
So . . .
We come to an awareness that God loves us,
We tell the truth about ourselves and we get loved here in this human form,
We refuse to stay angry/hurt/offended/etc. and then . . .
We simply BE LOVING -- which is an easy, natural thing when we've done the first three things!
Princess Diana once said: "I think the biggest disease this world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved, and I know that I can give love for a minute, for a half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give. I'm very happy to do that and I want to do that."g
Why do we want to do that? Because being loving is a wonderful, wonderful thing. An exhilarating feeling!
Why is being loving such a wonderful thing? Why does it make us feel so, so good? Because it is our DIVINE NATURE to love! We are made in the image and likeness of LOVE. We were born to love -- we just got lost along the way.
In Embraced by the Light Betty Eadie writes: "Our purpose on earth is to love. Nothing brings us back into the awareness of our divinity like the experience of loving. God is love. Each experience of loving brings us closer to our true nature, which is love."h
I want to share a story with you, true story -- of a man who "simply loved." In his own quiet way:
It was a bitter cold evening in northern Virginia many, many years ago. The old man's beard was glazed by winter's frost while he waited for a ride across the river. The wait seemed endless.
His body became numb and still from the frigid north wind. He heard the faint, steady rhythm of approaching hooves galloping along the frozen path. Anxiously, he watched as several horsemen rounded the bend. He let the first one pass by without any effort to get his attention. Then another passed by, and another.
Finally, the last rider neared the spot where the old man sat like a snow statue. As this one drew near, the old man caught the rider's eye and said, "Sir, would you mind giving an old man a ride to the other side? There doesn't appear to be a passageway by foot." Reining his horse, the rider replied, "Sure thing. Hop aboard." Seeing the old man was unable to lift his half-frozen body from the ground, the horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse.
The horseman took the old man not just cross the river, but to his destination which was just a few miles away. As they neared the tiny but cozy cottage, the horseman's curiosity caused him to inquire, "Sir, I notice that you let several other riders pass by without making any effort to secure a ride. Then I came up and you immediately asked me for a ride. I'm curious why, on such a bitter winter night, you would wait and ask the last rider. What if I had refused and left you there?"
The old man lowered himself slowly down from the horse, looked the rider straight in the eyes and replied, "I've been around these here parts for some time. I reckon I know people pretty good. I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were evident. I knew, then and there, that your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunity to give me assistance in my time of need."
Those heartwarming comments touched the horseman deeply. "I'm most grateful for what you have said," he told the old man. "May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion."
With that, Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States, turned his horse around and made his way back to the White House.
So, this morning -- are you READY to be the world's greatest lover? You can, it's your choice!
Remember how much God loves you -- tell the truth about yourself and get loved -- refuse to get angry -- and simply be loving!
Love is real. It is an eternal creation, and nothing can destroy it. God is not the author of fear, you are. Anything that isn't love is an illusion. Remember this and you will be at peace.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin a 19th century French monk and mystic said: "The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire."i
aReference book for this talk: Real Love: The Truth About Finding Unconditional Love & Fulfilling Relationships by Greg Baer
bErnest Holmes 10 Ideas That Make a Difference
cErnest Holmes Science Of Mind p. 408
dStuart Hample Children's Letters to God
eGreg Baer Real Love: The Truth About Finding Unconditional Love & Fulfilling Relationships
fErnest Holmes Science Of Mind p. 255
hEmbraced by the Light Betty Eadie
iPierre Teilhard de Chardin