"Greater love has no one than this-than a person who would lay down their life for their friend."
What a quote. Self-less love. It is a foreign concept for our modern world. We live in a world where everything is fast pace to allow you to get as much accomplished and advance your career as quickly as possible. Some industries seem to demand some sort of moral compromise in order to gain the "respect" and move up. Marriages end every day and no one thinks twice about it because "everyone is doing it". Infidelity, compromise, and immoral behavior are all joked about and acceptable because, after all, we are only human!
A study done by the National Institute of Health shows that psychiatric admissions in children ages 5-12 has doubled in the last ten years. Our hospitals are flooded with suicidal and depressed people, yet we have never had as many advancements in technology and modern conveniences as we do today. Why are people so unhappy?
Happiness is not something you can box. It isn't a gift you can give. Money, fame, a great job, a significant other: none of these mean happiness. Happiness is defined in the Webster dictionary as, "A state of well being and contentment."
When I traveled to Ethiopia, I played with children in a school. These kids marveled when we took out a camera and showed them their photo-they had never seen a mirror. Bubbles??? Did someone say bubbles??? You should have seen them dance around in delight as we blew bubbles for them. These kids ate the same thing every day and didn't always get to eat three times. Kids who wore with hand-me-down clothes and entertained themselves. These kids were significantly more content than the American kids I had done clinics for. Sure, upbringing matters significantly, but as adults we have control.
Something my mother taught me growing up was that whenever you are upset or having a rough time, get your eyes off of yourself. I swear, there were days I would start to complain to her about how upset I was about something and she would forget to do the empathy part and skip right to the, "Well why don't you find someone to encourage or help?!? That will get your mind off of your problems!" Now that I am an adult, when people come to me (close friends) and start to fuss about how bad they have it, I have been known to say, "Well let's see... your airway is clear, your heart is still beating, and you are still breathing...things could be worse!" That would be the trauma nurse coming out. The truth remains, we can always find something to be thankful for or someone who is worse off than us.
So now I have gotten waayyy off topic, but I want to talk about the greatest love. You see, the quote at the top is from Jesus, the inventor of and ultimate Lover. He is the source of perfect love. We cannot manufacture it. Everyone deserves to be perfectly loved because Christ gave us the ultimate example and loved without conditions. He died on the cross with the knowledge that we would do things to hurt him continually, even thousands of years later! Imagine loving someone even when they hurt you all of the time. Our society condones "getting out" of an unbalanced marriage but the sacrifice it takes to love no matter what.
Love takes all forms. People love in their own way but that does not make it perfect love. The only way to have perfect love is to let Christ's love flow through you and the only way to do so is to be close to Him. When you love like He loves, no one can fault you and no one can shake you because it is a self-less love. The greatest love-laying down your life for another. You don't have to die to do that, you just put yourself aside and do what is best for them. That seems awful because everyone wants something for their efforts but when you are able to see past your self, it doesn't matter if the person you love is unable to return it, your reward is much greater.
I don't have a good way to wrap this up as my brain is going a million miles an hour but not doing well categorizing and writing. What I would encourage is to practice self-less love. It makes a difference and can change even the hardest of hearts. While it is certainly not easy, Jesus didn't call us to an easy life on this earth.