February is often a time when we reach out to our loved ones and show them how much we love them.  We might do this by buying flowers or a gift.  We could do this by having a special dinner, or we could do this by doing something nice for them.  Whatever it is we do, the meaning behind it is the same – to show our love and appreciation for them.  So what exactly is love? The dictionary states that love is “an intense feeling of deep affection.”  The apostle Paul says that “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous.  It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.  It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.  Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up." 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

When Jesus breaks bread with the disciples he says to them, “I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you.  Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.” John 13: 34-35. Oh to be like Jesus!!!!  He truly did love everyone!  Remember the woman at the well?  How about Zacchaeus?  Bartimaeus? The Bible gives many examples of Jesus and his love, so to love like Jesus is a very tall order!  I am not sure about you, but I often find myself fighting inwardly between what I know Jesus would want me to do and what I want to do.  Truly loving and showing love takes time, and in our busy lives time is something that is very valuable and hard to give.  Sure, we can be nice to one another.  We can easily greet each other with a hug and a smile.  That is the easy stuff.  To take the time to love like Jesus is not easy.  Shamefully I am often a Martha instead of a Mary.  To me loving like Jesus means to take the time to really listen to someone when they are sad or hurting.  It means taking the time out of your busy schedule to help someone who needs help.  Sometimes this means that what we had planned for that day is not going to get done.  If you are a scheduler like me, this can be very hard to give up.  The task of loving becomes even harder when the person who needs your love the most is a person that you do not like.  However, God made it very clear that we are to love our enemies like we love ourselves.  It is our duty as followers of Christ.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Phillipians 4:13 - that includes loving my enemies.

I am so thankful for my church and my church family.  Every Sunday I am able to come to church and renew my spirit which in turn fills my heart with love.  I am also very thankful for my Bible and other religious books that give me something to turn to during the week that also help to fill my heart with love.   By surrounding myself with these positive influences it makes it easier to fulfill God’s commandment and to love others as he has loved us.  Don’t get me wrong, it is still a daily struggle, but without these tools I would be lost.  I am very thankful for, and truly do love, all my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Yours in Christ,

Becky Aragon, GSLC President