The demand to love

Even as you read this article there may be people not far away who are hurt and lonely, longing to be loved. Just a smile or a few understanding words can light up their day.

The shyest among us can express love. Christ Jesus' instruction ''This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you'' n1 can be obeyed. What an impression his life of love made on mankind! The solitary, the sick, even the sinner, felt his love, and their lives were improved. Today his teachings have the same effect, and we are all capable of following his example.

n1 John 15:12.

Man is the child of God, as the Scriptures make clear. And the Bible also tells us that God is Love. It continues, ''He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.'' n2 Our actual selfhood, created in God's image, is radiant in His love, is Love's very reflection. Understanding that God is the source of all genuine love enables us to love Him more deeply and to feel a truer, purer love for our fellowman.

n2 I John 4:16.

There's such a need for unselfish affection. What is it that makes us freeze up and appear to be uncaring? Perhaps it's fear of appearing foolish, or preoccupation with our busier-than-anyone-else's day! Or could it be self-love?

How do we ''unfreeze''? Even the most solid river of ice melts when the spring sun shines on it. Just as the sun melts the frozen river, so realizing God's love for us, and loving Him, can release our affection for others. Asking God to help us love more is a big step in the direction of giving happiness.

Some time ago we lived in a neighborhood with lots of bright, active children. Usually it was a very happy place. But one evening when they appeared to be doing something surprisingly noisy and stupid, I became more and more up-tight and at last stormed down the driveway to where they were playing. I then proceeded to lay down the law, and raged back, full of self-justification but at the same time feeling a little ashamed of myself. A few minutes later, five-year-old Mandy left the group, threw her arms around me, and after repeating my name said, ''I love you.'' That hug broke the ice around my heart and I hugged her back. It immediately dissolved the anger I had been feeling. After the incident there was never any uneasiness, only the greatest affection among us all. Perhaps we should all pray to express more of the pure love of a little child.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in a poem: Fed by Thy love divine we live, For Love alone is Life; And life most sweet, as heart to heart Speaks kindly when we meet and part. n3

n3 Poems, P. 7

The pure, God-derived love we can express as our lives touch others is a first step in healing the wars and hatred of mankind. Little pebbles make big circles in the world's pond. Let your heart overflow with love. It will be felt - and will heal. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill , Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying , namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8-10

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