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For years musician Johnny Cash was addicted to pain killers and amphetamines. It wasn’t until he met the love of his life, June Carter, that he began to seek freedom from his addiction. In his autobiography, Cash said he had crawled into a literal hole to die when God saved him from killing himself. As he came out of his “hole,” physical and metaphorical, June was waiting for him with food and love. Carter admitted to wanting to give up on Cash numerous times but instead, chose to see the best in him. Because of her great love and undying devotion, Cash eventually defeated his addiction against drugs.

In his autobiography, this is what Cash said about Carter, “I sometimes still hear it said that she’s the reason I’m alive today. That may be true, but knowing what I do about addiction and survival. I’m fully aware that the only human being who can save you is yourself. What June did for me was post signs along the way, lift me up when I was weak, encourage me when I was discouraged, and love me when I felt alone and unlovable. She’s the greatest woman I have ever known.”

THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE

Love is an action word. Love is expressed by doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return. It is an act of sacrifice. It’s acting in the best interest of the person you’re sacrificing for. Sometimes, the best interest of the other person may be saying something to them that is hard, but necessary to say. Speaking truth into someone’s life is an essential aspect of loving them. As the old proverb says, “A wound from a friend can be trusted.” Other aspects of love include mourning with a someone who’s lost a loved one, encouraging someone who is having difficulty to press on, or sacrificing your time to sit and listen to a person who needs to talk. Love does not sit on the sidelines; true love acts when it is needed.

Love enables people to become their best. Sometimes it takes a person who sees the best in you to bring the best out of you. When we are trying to see the good in people, we will. When we are trying to see the bad in people, we will.

It’s like the labeling theory in Sociology: If you label something as “X”, it will become as “X.” If you call a person “stupid” and continue to tell them they are stupid, they will live up to the label of being stupid. The same is true when we positively label people. If we tell someone how good they are at something and continue to encourage them, they will eventually gain the confidence to become even better. Think about this regarding our enemies. If we label someone as our enemy, talk “trash” about them, and think bad things about them, they will continue to be our enemy.

However, even if we label someone an enemy and we train our mouths to say nice things about them, train our minds to think positively about them and only notice positive things, our feelings towards that person will inevitably change and we may make a friend out of an “enemy.”

When we act with love towards someone we tear off labels and see people in their best light.

Love unlocks a person’s potential. Love knows no boundaries or limits. Many people haven’t been loved properly and don’t believe they’re worth being loved. Therefore, since they don’t see their own self-worth they never tap into their potential. Because they don’t tap into their potential their internal gifts are never revealed. When their gifts aren’t revealed it robs the world.

Love knows no boundaries and no limits. Love accepts people for who they are and allows them to express themselves without fear.

Love is a commitment. We often don’t experience the rewards of love after a single act of love. While a single act of love—expressing thanks, holding a door for someone, smiling at someone, calling someone just to see how they’re doing—can be powerful, the full benefits of love are experienced only after we’ve made a commitment to love others, moment by moment, no matter the cost.

To live a life of character, we must develop a lifestyle of love. Make it a habit to think of others better than yourself. John F. Kennedy made this phrase famous: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” We can apply this to our own life of loving others.

To live a life of character, we must develop a lifestyle of love. Make it a habit to think of others better than yourself. John F. Kennedy made this phrase famous: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” We can apply this to our own life of loving others.

Ask not what others can do for you, but what you can do for others. Seek to serve rather than be served.  A great phrase to apply to memory is: “What can I help you with?” You can use this phrase with your co-workers, clients, friends, and family.  By offering help, you are acting out of love because you are recognizing someone else’s needs. The number one desire of a human being is the desire to feel important. When you acknowledge someone’s needs, you are appealing to their greatest desire. “Let us be the first to give a friendly sign, to nod first, to smile first, and—if such a thing is necessary—forgive first.” (Apples of Gold.)

5 PRACTICAL WAYS TO SHOW LOVE:

  1. Smile.
  2. Greet someone, ask them how they’re doing and really listen.
  3. Notice something someone did for you and thank them specifically for it.
  4. Do something for someone that’s not expected of you.
  5. Notice something special about someone and give them an honest compliment.

 QUESTIONS TO PONDER

  • On a scale of 1-10, how are you performing in love?
  • Who do you love the most and why?
  • Do you have any enemies? If so, how can you love them instead of hate them?
  • How can you better practice love towards others in your life?

 CHALLENGE

Show an act of love to someone out of the ordinary. Pay for a stranger’s lunch. Talk to an outcast or encourage someone who’s having a bad day.

Take absolute immediate action on the ideas that compel you. Never forget, it is the application of your education that makes the biggest difference in your world.

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