Love: More or Less

 
The cashier looks at us and says the words everyone hopes to hear standing in the checkout line. “I’ll take the next in line over here” as she opens a new lane.

A man and his wife cut in front of our family at the grocery store. I’m holding my six month old son, he’s crying, having exhausted all patience for this place. My oldest son is bouncing from rack to rack begging for candy. My wife has had a LONG week. Sick kids, crazy work stress, the pressures of ministry. How do we react?

Love. But it doesn’t feel very lovely. In fact I have a rare talent for opening my mouth at all of the wrong times. And this is one of those times when I absolutely want to. But I don’t. Truthfully it won’t hurt us to wait a couple of more minutes—and I don’t know what is going on with this young couple that they feel the need to rush in front of a dozen or so other people. 

Now, don’t confuse love in this situation with quiet, or passiveness. In fact, never confuse love with quiet or passiveness. Sometimes loving someone means making A LOT of noise and getting right in their face to tell them the hard thing they need to hear. 

I work with people. Most of us do. I see people, talk to people, and help people daily. If I don’t love them how can I fulfill what I believe to be my life’s purpose? Really that’s what this idea boils down to for me. 

Every day, in every situation, we have a choice to make regarding each person we interact with. We can choose to love them more, or love them less. 

Loving them more could mean extending grace, holding back judgement, and offering goodwill, but it could also mean correction or confrontation. We have to decide that. You know, like that famous Disney cricket from the 20th century said, “Let your conscience be your guide.”

What does it mean to love people less? Well, don’t we see the fruits of this on a regular basis? War and violence, disrespect and discord. 

In the absence of love there will be the presence of something. Some emotion. Some thoughts or feelings. I choose to fill my heart and thoughts with love toward others. I don’t always get it right. But I’m aiming to love more, not less.

What about you? It’s not a one time sweeping decision. It’s an every day—every interaction—kind of decision. Choose. Because you can. Choose to love more, not less.

Thanks for reading,

Nate

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