A monthly column by Vivienne Solomons who is a legal consultant who passionately believes that God wants His people to make a difference right where they are and to stand up for what is true and just. She is also passionate about encouraging young women to walk victoriously with God and she is engaged in a challenging faith journey as a parent of a child with special needs.
The month of love is upon us, and usually there are two questions that I like to ask myself at this time of the year: “Am I loving well?” and “How can this be measured?”
In the words of Jesus: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends”. Of course, this scripture brings to mind the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for us all, so that we may know Him and have eternal life. But here, Jesus was not only referring to His own death on the cross; He was also reminding us of how we should love others, that is selflessly, even to the point of sacrifice.
Standard of love
But what does it mean, practically speaking, to “lay down one’s life” for another? As believers, the life of Jesus is our example. At every turn, throughout His ministry on the earth, Jesus was motivated by the love of the Father in meeting the needs of those He encountered – whether physical, emotional or spiritual needs – without concern for His own gratification or popularity. This then, is my standard and also the measure of my love for others in my life, including those who cross my path, albeit for a brief moment in time.
I am sure that you can recall instances in your own relationships with others where your decision to love has cost you “something”. I know I can! The truth is, every relationship will and does require something of us. Sometimes, it will cost us more than we think we have to give, even to the point of us ‘laying down our lives’, in a manner of speaking. At the very least, it will require some thought on our part … with action to back it up, of course! Since others cannot read my mind, I have come to the realisation that I have the responsibility to put action to my intentions in such a way that they will know that I love and care for them.
I would, however, like to think that the expression of this type of love is not necessarily limited to the realm of personal relationships alone but can, and should extend to the relationships between those in positions of influence and power across our country and us, the citizenry of South Africa.
Change in SA
There are of course, many examples of those who have gone before us who laid down their personal and family lives in order to see change in South Africa, while countless others quite literally gave their life breath for the sake of the country they loved.
I would also like to think that the recent significant shifts in the political landscape of our beloved country, while possibly partially motivated by political allegiances, is due in no small part to a groundswell of love for our country and the widespread desire to see justice served and all that has been lost restored, for the benefit of all our people.
Loving well is by no means easy; and inevitably, it will cost us something but I find myself having to ask whether anything less is really acceptable, particularly when we as South Africans have been born into such a time as this?
May we love well where we are!