Try to Love Better
“Every day we have the choice to meet the world from our flaws or from our glory.”
In SOULFULL, I write that our relationships are our spiritual legacy. If Heaven was tallying a report card of my performance, you would see many scenarios where I did not show up with my best self. Tired, stressed, hurt, and self-focused are not favorable conditions for healthy engagement. Like a bulldog, I have also been known to hold onto grudges, hurting me from the inside out. My progress report would also reveal moments when I actually got out of my own way, and loved from the very best in me. I did what I was made for—expanding love instead of diminishing it.
Jesus recognized the complexity of human relationships. Some give us life, others upset our inner equilibrium, which inevitably affects other areas and relationships in our lives. In the Gospel of Matthew (5:23-24), Jesus offers some great relationship advice: “So when you offer your gift to God at the altar, and you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there at the altar. Go and make peace with that person, and then come and offer your gift.” Unresolved relationships puts a strain on the soul.
I wish it was as easy as just “go and make peace with them,” and then you are set free. In my experience, complicated relationships are managed, even healed in baby steps, tiny olive branches and many whispered prayers. Ask yourself what needs to be forgiven in my life, what needs to be healed, who deserves better from me? The goal is to reach a place of release within yourself. For the “porcupine” relationships that will continue to trigger and compromise your creativity, peace, and joy, become compassionately strategic. There is a reason Solomon’s Temple had an exterior courtyard and only certain people were invited to cross into the inner sanctum, “the Holy of Holies.” Some relationships are better living on the periphery of our hearts.
Participating in and modeling healthy, life-giving relationships is our lifetime work. Don’t take for granted the relationships that nourish you. Tell them—show them—thank them—for making your world harmoniously turn.
In the end all that really matters is our positive impact of love on one another.
I hope this prayer both comforts and inspires. Have a blessed week.
Holy and Loving God,
You know us from the inside out.
You see our flaws, our vulnerabilities, where we are prickly instead of soft.
More importantly, You see our potential for remarkable, redemptive love.
No matter how strong we appear on the outside, a tender heart resides within us.
Every day we are learning how to use it, to love as You love.
What a terrific challenge.
How easily the pendulum can swing within us from kindness to selfishness, peace to anger, mercy to judgement, courage to cowardice, hurt to healing and back again.
It all depends on who rules our days and relationships.
Our demanding ego or generous soul?
When we hurt one another, we hurt You.
You see our invisible wounds, some fresh, others bear years of callus.
Look how we try and control love, when it is Love that should be controlling us.
Forgive us when we obsess over the speck in the eye of another, ignoring the plank lodged in our own eye.
So often it’s easier to judge, to ghost, to build walls, to become sharp instead of soft.
It is the way of the world, but not the way of Your kingdom.
Resentment is an invisible plague that takes us down from the inside, leaving us with no peace. When will we learn?
The truth is every single one of us has work to do, first within, then outward to those bound to us by blood and circumstance. We cannot do it alone, be in relationship with other imperfect creatures, like ourselves, without Your aid.
Help us to take a breath before we react, so our better angels have time to respond.
Remind us that every single person is carrying their own invisible burdens, and hunger for grace.
In this silent moment, may we have the courage to confess the people and places that have not received the best of us.
Thank you for the invitation to try again.
Try to love better.
For in the end, our heart will speak for us,
judged on love alone.
A song to inspire!