At the start of this year, dear Danielle and I chose a word that we would focus on. Similar to many ideas that come with the new year, we chose a word that we wanted to add to who we were, a character trait that would be pressed into in order to grow closer to who God is calling us to be. That word was “lover.” We wanted to move into this current year with forgiveness and make sure we showed love through every part of us. We wanted to be active in our love for people, because people matter.
Little did we know that a global pandemic would happen.
This year brought with it, many, many challenges. From lockdowns to furloughs, uncertainty was the only real thing to be certain of. This brought with it tension, we had to get creative with the way we chose to love others. The thing that we found was that really, it’s easy to love people. You just have to choose to. This year was hard, that goes without a doubt, but it was not a waste. It revealed cracks in my own life that I had often hidden, but in this time, I was able to press into Christ and deal with the junk. In every hardship, we chose to love. We have that choice every day, to choose to love like Jesus.
Love isn’t easy, but it is the best choice you can make.
This year gave a lot of choices, choices that pushed how we view others. Choices like wearing a mask to save a life became an issue when pushing others to think about others. Choices to hold those in power accountable for the unjust taking of black lives became an issue when it was finally called out and caused discomfort. It was easy to look at people and get so frustrated at the selfish thoughts, but in loving like Christ, I have to love all people. I can lovingly address the issue of sin, because that is the ultimate enemy. Sin separates us from what God intended, and that’s the root of these issues.
Love is the choice we make to treat others the way we want to be treated. It’s not easy, it is an active choice to look past the sin and call out who God has designed you to be.
Jesus was the ultimate example of love, and I want to be like Jesus.
I think the best witness you can be in life, is to love others. I went to a private Christian school and growing up in church there was always the mindset of having to defend your faith. I think it’s a good thing to be able to defend what you believe and be educated, but in my experience, the best way to live like Christ is not being a great debater, but a great lover. I have no desire to talk apologetics, I really want to know about who you are and what your dreams are. I want ot know those things because those are things God has placed in you, because you are made in the image of God.
We just celebrated the birth of Jesus, a fulfilling of prophecy that began a ministry of Jesus’ eventual sacrifice and resurrection. The ministry of Jesus is marked by two things, he was a king and he loved. He never let sin corrupt his heart and he chose to look at the unloved and call them into greatness. Sometimes it was the poor and sometimes it was the villain, but he loved all the way God sees each of us; we are God’s creation. I want to be like Jesus, I want to see everyone the way God sees them, as his creation.
This year of love showed me that it’s not about me. Everything I do and every word I say, needs to reflect Christ in me. This means loving others who think like me and loving those to hate me. I found that sending a text of encouragement can make a world of difference. I found that lifting the voice of someone else to be louder than my own is important. I learned that listening and laughing are vital. What this year of choosing to love showed me was that loving others is a calling and I need to step into that calling every day.
I encourage you to choose to love. It’ll require a little discomfort and humbling yourself, but it’s the example that Jesus left for each of us. Choose to be active in love, choose to live like Jesus.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__