Gandi said, "My life is my message." It is not a long quote, but it speaks volumes! So, should our lives - I think this is what he meant! I went to the local hardware store yesterday to get a few things. I was amused to see the checkout gentleman sporting a huge St. Patrick's Day green top hat. At first, this may not seem like much to you, but it was Valentine's Day on the day he was sporting the hat. I didn't need to ask him why - it was evident to me right away. He either didn't like all the hype of Valentine's Day, or he was making a statement we see so very often nowadays - one "holiday" really doesn't stand out at unique anymore! They all just make way for the next. He was definitely not afraid to live his life as a message. I wonder if we'd be so bold with the message of our lives?
Remember His call, and live by the royal law found in Scripture: love others as you love yourself. You’ll be doing very well if you can get this down. (James 2:8 VOICE)
The message we are called to live is that of loving one another. Nothing quite shares this message in the same way as when it is lived out. Love wasn't meant to be words on a card, or pages in a book. It wasn't even supposed to be the candy in a heart shaped box or the bouquet of flowers tucked under the opposite arm. It was always intended to be "lived out" for one another - action upon action demonstrating the very essence of love. Yet, this is the hardest of all messages to get right. Rose Kennedy was quoted as saying, "Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments." Maybe she came close to understanding what our passage wants to remind us about today - life isn't really about the "grand" things we do, but the simplicity of just making those moments which matter.
Love others as you love yourself - you'll be doing very well IF you can get this down. I think James may have penned those words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit because he knew how hard it is for us to live with consistency when it comes to loving one another. We get into those modes where we judge others for their actions - not exactly how we'd want them to exhibit their love toward us, but hey, they acted kind of "wrong" and we had a hard time getting past that action. We also get into modes where we shut out others for some reason - either because we get so distracted by whatever has our attention at the moment, or because we think they have done something to deserve a little bit of a cold shoulder. If we are honest here, we all struggle a bit with "getting this love thing down" in our lives.
I think James may have had in mind this idea of being present in the moment, making the moments count, and not being so concerned with all the things people do or have. We get caught up in the ways people act - forgetting their are people behind those actions just as confused about life at the moment as we are. We get all bundled up in misgivings - totally missing the fact the expectations we set may not have been realistic or something we should have held over the other person's head. When we begin to think about these things in a different way, we might just begin to exhibit love in a different way. Here's the crux of it: Turn the table around - would we want the other individual to "expect" the things from us we expect from them and actually be able to meet those expectations? Would we want someone to judge us for our less than stellar actions whenever we don't quite "measure up" to whatever the standard was which is being held over our heads? Not likely. So, why do we do it with others in our lives?
Moments which really matter are genuine moments - those moments when you are free to act, even when those actions may not quite be what we want them to be. Someone said we don't actually move forward until we take the first step. If we want to know love in our lives, we learn to demonstrate the love we have been given. We may not get it "right" the first time, but when we are genuine in our expression of love, this shines through. We live life as a message - with each day bringing a new page. What gets written on those pages is within our control. They can be messages of love when they are messages of grace, forgiveness, giving, and genuine care. Just sayin!