By Jim Newman
Do you feel loved today? That can be one of the greatest feelings in the world when you do! But when you don’t feel loved, and maybe think nobody even likes you, it can be an excruciatingly painful and lonely experience. It could even cause you to fall into a “pit of despair” and self-pity.
Many years ago, while serving as youth pastor in a church near Chicago, one of the high school girls wanted to talk to me. Here tearful words went something like this: “Nobody loves me. No one wants to talk to me or hang out with me. I don’t have any friends. The other girls are all mean to me and the boys don’t even take notice of me.” Certainly, others in the youth group could have done a better job in communicating love and acceptance to her, but that was only a part of the problem. As I listened, it struck me that though she was genuinely sad and hurting, all of her focus was on herself. (Note all the times she used the words “me” and “I”). She had little awareness of the needs of others around her who also might have felt alone, rejected and unloved.
How easy it can be to start feeling sorry for ourselves and to have a little “pity party,” as we used to say. But that’s a party nobody else will want to go to with you. So, instead of just sitting around and waiting for others to be more loving toward us, I believe there are at least two things we could begin doing.
First, we need to realize how much God loves us. He has loved us with an “everlasting love.” In fact, “God so loved the world (put your name here) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever (that includes you again) would believe in him should not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16). He demonstrated his great love for us even when we were still sinners who could have cared less about God. That’s when Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
A second thing we could begin doing is to get our eyes off of ourselves (our needs, our wants, our hurts, our problems) and begin to focus on the needs and hurts of others around us. Jesus once said to his disciples, “Love each other as I have loved you.” How did Jesus love us? He willingly set aside all of his rights and privileges as God, and died on the Cross for our sins. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” That’s what he did for us and that’s what he wants us to do for others. When we stop just living for ourselves and start to be more concerned about the needs and happiness of others, we will begin to experience the joy of pleasing God and of being a channel of his love to others. It can even begin with a word of encouragement, a hug, or maybe just a smile. You could help somebody else feel loved today!
Someone once said, “Love is the only passion which includes in its dreams the happiness of someone else.”
Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing email@example.com.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.