the value of one

It’s taken me many years and more pain and heartache than any one person should ever have to bear. But I think I have finally come to understand the value of one person, one friendship, one relationship. Over the past year, I can point to so many times when I would not or could not have gone on living had it not been for the intervention of one person.

Often, that intervention occurs in small ways. A glass of cold water. An invitation to lunch. A note of encouragement. Sometimes, it is as simple as an acknowledgement of my existence.

Fair weather friends are abundant and of questionable value. I think of the words of Jesus:

For if you love them which love you, what reward do you have? Can’t even tax collectors do that? And if you greet your brethren only, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the publicans so?

During the past year, I experienced a catastrophic life crisis. Before the crisis, I had more friends and acquaintances than I could have listed. Now, all but about a dozen have drifted away. It’s quite an awakening to find out that so much of my life was a delusion.

I’ve spent months licking my wounds, and perhaps that’s a necessary part of the process. But I sense that it’s now time to get up and be the kind of person that I think others should be.

It’s almost amusing to see the way people have twisted the teachings of Jesus to come up with a rigid code of behavior entailing countless “Thou shalt nots.” Clearly, Jesus himself had (has) much more interest in the “Thou shalts.”

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Jesus a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

In one of the gospel accounts, the lawyer, still not satisfied, presses Jesus further, asking him to define what constitutes being a neighbor. In response to this query, Jesus tells the well-know story of the “Good Samaritan.”

Jesus makes it perfectly clear that love is the trump card.

And love is most clearly realized when it is intentional, active, and directed toward one.

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

© panthera2, 2012.

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