I have recently been learning a lot about how to love people.
That may seem strange to some of you, but I’m not talking about falling in love. I’m talking about showing love to people…everyone. Living lovingly. It’s a lot harder than it seems, I’ve discovered.
Some of this may seem a little bit obvious and like a no-brainer, but these have been my experiences, and tidbits that I’ve picked up along this journey.
During the first year of college, I saw genuine love for people more clearly than I had realized before. Yes, I saw love in my family, but I saw it differently then. It was kind of a given. Now.. it’s much deeper and in some ways, more visible, to me.
There is something about people’s eyes. There has always been something about eyes for me. I’m instantly drawn to people’s eyes and what I can see in them. It’s part of why I’m a communications major. 🙂 I love seeing something click in people’s minds.. I love seeing the honesty in their eyes when they are sharing their hearts…I love seeing the forgiveness in their eyes when they have been hurt.. I love seeing the compassion in their eyes when they are helping someone else… I love seeing the pure joy in their eyes when they are enjoying life to the fullest. I have become much more in tune with what is in people’s hearts, through the look in their eyes.
Sometimes, what I see isn’t as beautiful… I see the hurt, I see the anger, I see the cold, or I see the lack of emotion or compassion. It hurts me to see these, but I still love how honest one’s eyes can be.
Sometimes I still have to come to terms with how much I have been blessed by the friends that God has placed in my life over the years, and especially this year. They never cease to shock me with their love for me and my family, and I am continually growing in my love for them and others. It’s amazing.
One thing that I have been doing recently is reading a book called Who You Are When No One’s Looking, by Bill Hybels. That book is amazing. I haven’t even finished it yet, and I already highly recommend it to people wanting to get more insight about Christian living, Love, character development, God, Communication, and success and developments in relationships and in our faith.
One thing that has really stood out to me, especially recently, is his perspective on tender love and tough love. He says, in the chapter about tough love: “Jesus’ love for us is the tenderest love we will ever know. He died to heal our sins and to give us eternal life with Him. He guides, protects, comforts and nourishes us with His word. But Jesus’ love is also the toughest love we will ever face. He knows our hearts and doesn’t hesitate in the least to tell us when He finds that sin is still living there. He insists on truth no matter how painful it may be, and He loves us too much to allow us to continue unchecked down a path of self-destruction.”
This book, and my personal experiences that have been going right along with it, have opened my eyes to the kind of love that I tend to show in different circumstances. I can show tender love, and I often do. However, I do tend to be bold and show tough love, especially recently. I have needed to tell people the truth, as I see it, with no hesitations. It’s hard, but at times, it is entirely necessary.
The timing of reading these chapters about tender and tough love, and the instances in which I see each at work in my life recently, amazes me. It seems to be my tendency to be bold and honest about what I’m seeing in different situations. I have had to have many heart to hearts with people in the last year about honest concerns for their well-being, and bold reactions to problems that I see. Siting down with someone and telling them that there is a problem and I am so concerned about it that I can’t even eat properly.. those conversations are some of the hardest, and some of the most relieving encounters of my life so far.
Love is such a multidimensional topic, but it is such a wonderful discovery in life. Love has always been there, but for me at least, it has taken me a while to truly see it revealed to me this clearly. Jesus’ real love, the love of my family and friends, and eventually, romantic love. They will all become clearer in time, and it will be a wonderful adventure to discover them. 🙂