What is your life philosophy? Do you take the Peanut’s comic strip character, Sally’s attitude?
PeanutsÂ Â© (1988) Peanuts Worldwide LLC
It seems that in our world of constant bombardment that a lot of people take the ”Who Cares?” and ”Forget It!” attitudes. But an overwhelming amount of us really identify with Charlie Brown’s attitude of ”Why Me?” Do you ever have ”Why Me?” days or weeks?
Sometimes when the ”Why Me?” storms come along, it is the only life philosophy we can see. And unfortunately, this often leads to statements like Linus, another Peanut’s character made, ”I love mankind”¦it’s the people I can’t stand!!”
This last week of my life, I have felt just that, it is the people that are causing the problem. But when I examine things closer, I realize that it isn’t all people, just some, but that is where wrong attitudes build, and perspective gets lost. Perhaps that is why Jesus embodied the costly love He demonstrates for us that allows an intimate encounter with God’s fierce and Holy love.
But What About the Other People?
Christ shows us the importance of pouring out self for real people, that includes everyone with our real-life quirks, faults, smells, and all sins whether we consider them big or small. These are the ones that desperately need strong saving love, compassion and mercy, holiness, and most importantly; the presence of Jesus. Do we dare to approach those who may push our buttons, rebuff, or inconvenient us with the costly love that Christ demonstrates for us? Do we dare to love both God and that person, even if it tears our heart with pain to do so?
When we take our life and follow the commands of love that GodÂ created and redeemed us for, we learn to conquer the world. For it is when we put our whole life out on love, God’s love that is active in us, we find the assurance that His love never fails. But this isn’t easy or natural which is why it is an obligation.
Which is Better?
A class asked a teaching rabbi, ”Which act of charity is higher, giving out of obligation or giving from the heart?” Most of the class felt the correct response was that giving from the heart held a greater importance, but they also knew that the rabbi would probably say the opposite because in spiritual teaching nothing seems logical. They were not disappointed.
”Giving from the heart is a wonderful thing,” the rabbi said, ”It is a very high act and should never be demeaned. But there is something much more important that happens when somebody gives charity out of obligation.”
”Consider who is doing the giving. When somebody gives from the heart, there is a clear sense of oneself doing something; in other words, heartfelt charity always involves ego gratification. However, when we give out of obligation, at the moment when every part of our being is yelling No! for one reason or another, perhaps the beneficiary is disgusting, is causing enormous grief to us personally, or thousands of other reasons we might avoid helping someone; we are still confronting our own egos and giving nonetheless. Why? Because we are obeying God.Â And what this means is that it’s not us doing the giving, rather we become the vehicles through which God gives.”
The Ultimate Example
In these days of demands for legal rights, it is more important than ever that we give, not only from the heart but even when our heart doesn’t want to. When we are hurt deeply we must remember that Christ expects us not to give what we think they deserve but give through forgiveness and goodness. This is the core of Christian living and is the example life that Christ set.
Even in conflict, we must continue to treat others as Christ demonstrates in both our attitudes and actions and by responding in kindness. When others cause pain, it is important to see how we can help them for they are obviously hurting. We can conquer life and the world by purposely giving and showing the costly love that Jesus demonstrated for us.
Don’t let evil conquer you but conquer evil by doing good. Romans 12:21 (NLT)
Creating a life philosophy where love is the foundation isn’t easy. To forgive those that hurt you by responding with kindness is impossible without the Holy Spirit. It is important to remember that when offering kindness to those people who irritate us, for whatever reason, that it doesn’t mean we are forgetting their misdeed. But by recognizing, forgiving, and loving them in spite of what they may do, we are fully making a conscious effort to allow the Holy Spirit to work within us to show them the costly love of Christ.
This type of philosophy of life is the first step to break a cycle of retaliation and lead to a possible reconciliation of mutual consent. For when we repay evil for evil it hurts us as much as our enemy. Even if the person we oppose never repents; forgiving and offering kindness will free us of a heavy load of bitterness.
Being Jesus to All
A young Catholic priest heard that a family in his parish was hungry because of a bureaucratic foul-up. A single mother with 5 small children had no food or hope of getting any until the end of the month.
Even though the family was not Catholic, the priest went to the grocery store and bought a supply of groceries. He took three full sacks as he went to the building where the family lived. After carrying the groceries up four flights of stairs and walking down a long hall he finally came to the small apartment.
He rang the doorbell, and a little boy answered the door. The boy looked at the young priest’s clerical collar with the sacks of groceries and then yelled to his mother: ”Mama, Mama, come quick. Jesus brought us some food!”
When we meet others, whether we approve of them or their actions, we must understand that God commands we help those we have the means to help. There are endless opportunities to do so all around us and it is important that we set the example of Christ. We, like the young priest, are to be Jesus, to all the people around us.
Won’t you take the challenge to do the impossible by offering kindness and forgiveness to those around you, even those that hurt you deeply? Allow your convictions to help you make a conscious decision to treat others as Christ treats you. Find your motivation in knowing that many times you can discover that right actions lead to the right feelings. Lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that grace is an undeserved favor that Christ offers you for nothing. Act in the same manner in the love that He offers you, for it is this costly love that will conquer the world.
Love in Christ,
And then there is the love for the enemy, love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The love of the tortured for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.
What are your thoughts?
Do you find it difficult to demonstrate to others the costly love that Christ sets the example for? Can you see how is it only through costly love that you can conquer not only life but the world? Share your thoughts on your life philosophy on conquering life and the world through love.
Credits Schulz, C. M. (1988). Peanuts Philosophies. Press Room Archives. Schultz Museum, Santa Rosa, CA. Retrieved November 1, 2018, from https://schulzmuseum.org/explore/press-room/peanuts-philosophies/