Recently, I had an instance where a patient confronted me and said that a local doctor (whom I barely know) advised her not to come into our clinic. When I asked why he said that she responded, “He just told me that too many people go there and I wouldn’t receive the quality care I was getting from him.” She stated that she realized that by him making that statement, that is exactly where she needed to go! Thinking about this doctor’s words, I was reminded of this simple phrase: The words we speak about others reflect how we feel about ourselves.
Generally we only talk about those we feel threatened by, envious of or even fearful of based on an assumption that someone or something important may be taken away from us. The root of that feeling is usually a deep hurt from the past and causes us to inflict pain on others. Said another way, hurt people, hurt people. My first thought was to pick up the phone and give him a piece of my mind, however, I quickly realized the correct response is one of integrity involving love and understanding, not retaliation. So, how do we do that effectively? The answer begins and ends with love. Not the emotional or sensual love we have grown so accustomed to. To the contrary, the type of love I am referring to is what the Bible calls “perfect love.” The love that casts out all fear. Perfect love is an unconditional, heartfelt love that involves unselfish service to others giving evidence that you care.
To understand this better we must take an honest look at our character and how we see ourselves which will be shown through our ability and willingness to help others in need and our actions (the love we show for others), such as patience, understanding, forgiveness, giving of ourselves, etc. My ability to love reveals the magnitude (or lack thereof) of the love I possess for God. Perhaps the most compelling of all statements concerning our love for others was in John 15:12-13 when Jesus Himself said, “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.” The depth of our love for and relationship with the Almighty is revealed by the love we show toward others. The fruit of our spirit…not just words, but by actions.
The Apostle Paul defined love best in I Corinthians 13: 4-8 when he wrote, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever…” When you find that kind of love in your life you have found the meaning of life itself. It is my daily prayer and hope that I can exemplify that in return to my wife, children, family, friends and, last but not least, toward those in need.
Perhaps you have someone in your life that has spoken ill of you or needs a shoulder to cry on. Or maybe someone in your family is in need and you are leaving the problems in one of your siblings’ hands. The next time you are faced with someone talking badly behind your back or traveling through the dark valley’s of life, stop for a moment and think what you would need if that were you. Perhaps it’s a note, a phone call, a visit or just a simple silent prayer. Whatever it may be, take a few moments to put your heart into action.
Love endures and is greater than all other human qualities. “There are three things that endure—faith, hope and love—and the greatest of these is love. Let love be the highest goal…” (I Cor. 13:13) Put love first and love will eventually be your guiding light. Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone once said, “When our attitude toward ourselves is big, and our attitude toward others is generous and merciful, we attract big and generous portions of success.” Accepting and giving love brings peace into your life that no amount of money can ever buy. It is an unfathomable peace that is chased by many and found by few. That same love leads to true success, true abundance and true meaning while defining who you really are.