There are moments we can get so wrapped up in the details of our own lives that we find ourselves ignoring the things and people around us. We can become so self-focused that we miss the hurting person next to us because we are telling them all about our problems. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a group of people and a person is telling the way in which they are suffering and someone else says, “I know how you feel. I have …insert some story about themselves that does not really relate…” We are often quick to not listen. We are also just as quick to be “doing” something and miss an opportunity to participate in the life of someone else.
The other day I hurried home for lunch, grabbed something quick and hurried right back out the door. I did say hello to my wife and kids, but otherwise I was wrapped up in my own “stuff” that I would have missed anything else. In fact, as I walked in and out, I missed all the chalk hearts that had been drawn on the driveway by my wife and daughter. I didn’t realize I had missed them until later on in the day.
The realization that I missed them became apparent when I received a notification that my wife had posted a new photo on Instagram (I always receive notifications when she makes a post, they are usually my kids!). I opened the app on my phone and saw the picture of my daughter drawing hearts on the driveway. My wife captioned the picture “writing love in the streets.” That picture and that line grabbed me out of whatever self-absorbed state I was in and brought me to a place of contemplation.
For those who call themselves followers of Jesus, we are called to live lives radically defined by love. The kind of love that is selfless, sacrificial, and persistent. If we are not careful we live lives that write a different story.
I cannot help of the words of the Great Shema in Deuteronomy chapter 6, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
I am not sure we have to write the words on our doorframes anymore (my wife would be ticked if I did that because it would need repainted.), but we are to write them with our lives. The question I am left with is, “Am I “writing love in the streets” with the way I live?” The question we are all left with is are we living in such a way that our children and the children of others will “write love in the streets” because of the way we live? Our church desires to “Love God, Grow Together, Serve All: because life isn’t simple.” I hope I never forget that the way I love other people is a direct reflection on the way I love God. In fact, it echoes the words of Jesus when he was asked the greatest commandment and his response was “Love God and love others.”
I want to live a life that isn’t self-absorbed. I want to live a life that isn’t only filled with self-interest. I want to live a life that doesn’t see the world with tunnel vision, but sees the world with the eyes of Jesus. I am fairly certain that if I live that way, if those who call themselves followers of Jesus live that way, we will send a message to all children and to the rest of the world that our lives are “writing love in the streets.”