I love chocolate. I love animals, especially large dogs. I love ice cream, cookies, pie, pizza, and Mexican food. I love my children, grandchildren, parents, sister, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and especially my husband.
Do you think I love my husband the same way I love chocolate? That is silly! I love my husband more and differently than I love chocolate.
Think of something you love. I bet some of you love ice cream. Maybe you have a pet you love. Some of you love to play baseball, basketball, or hockey. You may love to run, do ballet, or gymnastics. Reading a good book, watching a fun movie, or playing video games on the Wii may be things that you love. There is nothing wrong with loving things like that. It is good to enjoy food. That is why God made us with taste buds. Loving to play or watch sports is a fine thing.
Any of the things mentioned are alright to love. However, we don’t love them the same way we love our parents, grandparents, siblings (brother and sister), aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. People are more important than animals or foods we eat or things we do. God wants us to love others. The Bible says in Leviticus 19:18b …but you should love your neighbor as yourself.
Love yourself? Do you kiss and hug yourself? That would be silly! We do love our selves, though. We feed ourselves and make sure we have clothes. Loving ourselves makes us want toys to play with. Fixing our hair nice and taking a shower or bath so we don’t stink, shows we love ourselves. We do that so people like to be around us. No one likes to be around a stinky boy or girl! We're always going to love ourselves, but we need to love others like we love ourselves. We need to make sure we treat others the way we want to be treated.
I bet you don’t like it if your sibling is hogging the Wii or your favorite toy and won’t let you play. You may feel hurt, sad, or even angry. You want your sibling to share, making sure the time spent is evenly. Do you do that to them? Do you give your favorite toy or Wii controller to them so they can play? When you do, you are showing them you love them, like you love yourself.
I’m sure you have seen kids who push and shove others out of the way. They always have to be first. Have you seen a kid run over to someone who was getting on the swing at the playground and pull the swing out of the other one's hand? The kid says something like, “I was going to swing! I had it first!” He thinks his name is written on it. He loves himself and thinks he should always go first. He was not showing love to his neighbor.
Suppose you were sitting on the couch watching a movie with your friends, siblings, and cousins. The movie is great. Your favorite part is coming up, and you hear your mom calling your name. She wants you to come help her. You don’t want to go because you are having fun, and the very best part of the movie is coming! You love your mom. You want to love her more than you love yourself, so you get up and go help her. You did great! You feel good because you helped her.
You finish helping your mom and go back to sit down, but your spot is gone! When you left, everyone moved, and you don’t have a place to sit. You look around and see there is a place farther from the movie you love to watch. You had been sitting by your best friend up close to the movie. Now your cousin is sitting there! You have a choice. You can act like the kid on the playground and say, “I had it first,” or you can show love to your cousin and go sit where there is room. What would you choose to do?
Jesus wants us to love others and to put others before us. We show this love when we are sharing, being kind, or when we obey. When you obey your parents without complaining, you are showing respect and love to them. When you let your friend or sibling to go first before you, you are showing love.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13, if I have not love, I am nothing. Love never fails. Jesus said in John 13:34b ...love one another as I have loved you; that you also love one another.
Think of a way you can show love to others this week. Remember to love others as much or more than you love yourself.
Memorize: Galatians 5:14b …you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Verses in NKJV unless otherwise stated.