Learning to Love Well


I used to think that I loved others well.  I am one of these sentimental types who cries easily during movies, and the rare, touching commercial. And because I was sentimental, and I cared, I thought it meant that I loved well. But over the years, I am recognizing my  limitations of loving and caring for others.

The demonstration of how well I love is most challenged in relationship with others. That is the barometer by which I can measure the status of my heart. How do I handle rejection, hurt and betrayal? Am I vindictive? Do I replay scenes of offense over and over again in my head? Am I constantly thinking about what I may view as the character flaws of others, or can I see their well-intentioned hearts? Can I look beyond our differences of opinion, social standing, appearance, politics, faith, and stances on life, and love and accept others exactly where they are, without any desire to change them or force my stance on them?

Because of my difficult family background, I think frequently about the legacy I want to leave. When I leave a room, have I sucked the air out of the room?  Have I left a blessing of life, light and love, and affirmation (different than people pleasing), OR have I left the room with curse and negativity?

I would love to think that I leave blessing, but I know that I have blind spots, that my heart is in deep need of repair, and that statements come out of my mouth that are not intended to harm others, but that I do hurt others regardless of my intentions.

The legacy I want to leave is that I loved others well – that I cared enough about them to connect with them emotionally, and that I was a person of acceptance, love, connection, and empathy. Most of all I desire to be a safe haven, a safe person for others.

The good Lord is restoring my heart – I wish the process would happen quickly… but heart wounds, repair, and healing take a long time.

What is my part? Ask God to help me examine my heart and my actions, be willing to own my behavior and make amends as needed, and hope that truthful others will gently reveal my blind spots.

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