How to Practically Love People (2), By Sunday Adelaja
When you reach out to others in love like that, you convert your minus into a plus. Your negative energy becomes a life giving positive energy to others. Love changes everything. The most horrible situations can become the most creative under the powerful watch of love.
• Just Like Me, This Person Does Not Want to Suffer!
Pain and suffering are sources of great fear in our world that are entrenched in so much evil. Pain and suffering have become almost unavoidable. Many ordinary men and women are only left to dream and wish that they could avoid some pain and suffering in their lives. There are some other groups of people in our world today who cannot even dream of avoiding pain and suffering – they live, sleep, and wakeup with them. The reality of their lives is such that, pain and suffering are everywhere.
“Who doesn’t want to know that we notice them and value them? And who might respond to us better when they feel that they matter? It probably cannot be overstated – it matters…that people matter.” ― Steve Goodier
How do we show love to these kinds of people? We must start by speaking to ourselves, “just like me, these people don’t want to suffer.” The preface “just like me” is extremely important here. Do I want to suffer? Do I crave pain and suffering? No I don’t. We should look at the other side of the coin and put ourselves in the place of those who are suffering. Just like me, they don’t desire to suffer. This is where empathy is born. But our empathy must lead to altruism.
“Never stop loving while living, when you stop loving, you stop living.” ― Kemi Sogunle
It is this type of practical love that can cure our world. As I am writing this, pictures of desperate, suffering women and children in third world countries are flooding my mind. These types of suffering masses are so much prevalent in our world today yet, their issues could easily be resolved through an act of practical love. If we could only put ourselves in their place, if we could only turn it around on ourselves that just like me, these people don’t wish to suffer, then we would want to do something about it. Especially when we could do something.
“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” – Jodi Picoult
In the developing nations of the world, some of the solutions that suffering people need are as little as $1 USD a day. If we would only stop for a minute to consider that these people are actually suffering, if we could only reflect on their pain, if we could only remember our own experiences of pain and suffering, then we would understand love. Then we could understand why we must reach out to reduce the pain and the suffering and the calamity of our fellow men and women in our world.
• Just Like Me, this Person Has Experienced Sorrow, Disappointment, Failure and Abandonment
When we realise that other people have experienced the feelings of pain, loss and other strong feelings that are common to men, it should make us stop and reflect. If I remember my sorrow, then I can understand the person in sorrow. If I remembered my sorrow, I wouldn’t just want to understand him, more than this, I would want to give him any assistance possible, for him not to abide any longer in that sorrow.
“Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
That is how love works. Because I have experienced disappointments, I can understand the disappointed. Unfortunately though, people often waste their experiences, we don’t turn them into tools of love. Your disappointment must not be in vain. Your disappointment has to be turned into a source of wealth for yourself and for others. Love does this.
If I was ever disappointed, I don’t want to sit down in my feelings whining, murmuring and complaining in depression. That is what happens when my experiences force me into self-pity. When my experiences turn my attention selfishly inward, then my experience is not only wasted, but also life becomes even more torturous. The answer to this is love. Love takes a bad experience from inside and turns it outward. Love takes my disappointment from inside and turns it outside for the encouragement of others. If I was discouraged, love says I should not permit others to go through the same kind of discouragement. I reach out with understanding. I reach out to share. I take my focus from myself and put it onto others, that they might learn from my experience.
The power of love has turned the world upside down in just 2000 years. The rules of the game have changed with the introduction of love. Nations are no longer how they used to be, while empires are all but history. Love replaces everything with itself.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu
My failures are not wasted only thanks to love. Love compels me to want to share with others what I learnt in my failings. My experiences of failure must not be wasted. They become wasted when they are turned inside in self-pity. When I raise my head up however and look for those failing around me and share my story with them, I become their deliverer making them and myself happy in the process. I can even take my experience and fortify those who have not yet failed, that they might start learning from the mistakes that I made, that led me to that failure.
Thanks to love, those who were abandoned can now take their experiences and lessons and turn them into wealth so that even nations can be fed, like in the case of Joseph in the land of Egypt. Joseph was abandoned, first in the pit and then later in the dungeon. But his abandonment became the source of storage, hope and sustenance for all nations. Love makes that possible. Love does not allow you to waste your experience. You can turn it around for the enrichment of others.
• Just Like Me, This Person Wishes to Have His Needs Met
We are living in a world of needs, dire needs. If you ever face a need, which we all do, love turns your needs into your resources. When next you see people in need, remember the moments you were in need. Go ahead and convert your memories of pain and lack into an energy to fuel your passion to help others. Whenever you remember your pain, your sorrow, your lack, that remembrance is always associated with some feelings. Now switch that around to recognise that those people in pain before you right now are presently experiencing what you had experienced. Hence, they also need the same intervention and help as you had once needed.
“You can talk with someone for years, every day, and still, it won’t mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever… connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.” ― C. JoyBell C
When you reach out to others in love like that, you convert your minus into a plus. Your negative energy becomes a life giving positive energy to others. Love changes everything. The most horrible situations can become the most creative under the powerful watch of love. When you know that everyone you see in need is not to be abandoned, neglected or condemned, but to be given some amount of compassion, thanks to your own experience of need, then you can ask yourself, ‘what can I do to address the need of this person?’ The needs you see should spark your love, the lack around you should provoke your response. Needs around us should bring us closer to God. For God is love and anyone that loves, moves a little bit closer to the God of love Himself. So let your responses to other people’s needs be inspired by the love that you have for God and for men. Thanks to that love, you could ask yourself the question, how to best minister to the needs before you.
Even if it seems to you that you do not have anything to meet the needs of the people you see around you, you can still tell them the stories of how you overcame. You can share your stories with them. You can give them a word of encouragement. You could cheer them up. When we act in love, we get a little bit closer to God.
Dear friends, there are several other points I wish to share with you in this article, but I will hold them back and share the remaining points in the another part. It is my hope that love would no more remain a vague doctrine and theory to you. I hope through this article you have been able to see the practicality in love. I hope your heart has been softened by the touch of love reaching you from these pages. I hope that from now on your response to the world around you is more constructive than ever, bringing solutions rather than despair.
Today, no religion rivals Christianity, though one of the youngest of all the religions. The power of love has turned the world upside down in just 2000 years. The rules of the game have changed with the introduction of love. Nations are no longer how they used to be, while empires are all but history. Love replaces everything with itself.
It is my prayer that you submit yourself to an abandoned lifestyle of love. For he that loves, knows God. And he that loves not, does not know God, nor has he seen Him, for God is Love.
Sunday Adelaja is a Nigeria born leader, transformation strategist, pastor and innovator. He is based in Kiev, Ukraine. He can be contacted at email@example.com.