Love-Triangle-Love-OthersWhat do you think of when you hear the term ‘love triangle?’ What images come to mind, relationships, thoughts? I know that I initially thought of a marriage struggling through an affair. A once happy couple begins to have difficulties and then one partner introduces someone else into the picture by falling “in love” with them. Now, they are at the center of this weird love triangle, and it’s not healthy.

It’s like a country song straight off the charts. Sylvia’s “Nobody,” Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls,” or Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” are all filled with these images. Hollywood has made a living off stories like these, and Hallmark tells stories that get right up to the line without crossing it. We are fascinated with these love triangles, and that’s dangerous. In fact, love triangles can be more dangerous than another famous triangle, Bermuda.

But then, I got a different vision as I heard the great commandment. Hear it again…

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

Did you hear the love triangle in this verse? We are to love God with everything we have and everything we are. And then we are to love our neighbors. Love God, love neighbors. But don’t miss that we are also to love ourselves. You see, we are to love our neighbors, just as we love ourselves. A love triangle, all connected, all important, all needed as we fulfill this great commandment.

Today, we focus on loving others. What does it mean to love others? Are we just supposed to love those that we like, or are we called to love those we don’t know or worse yet, the ones we don’t like? These are questions we need to have answers to, we need to know.

If we look to scripture, we get a good picture of who is included in this command to love neighbors as ourselves, it’s everybody. Jesus loved everyone, even those he didn’t agree with. It should be the same with us. We should love everyone, even if we don’t agree with them, even if we don’t look like them. We are all children of God, loved by God, so why shouldn’t we love each other. I know, it’s tough to do, but that is our calling.

So, how do we love each other, even the ones we don’t know? Well, this past week I was blessed to be able to spend a week with youth from four different churches as we traveled to Camp Courageous in Iowa. This is a camp for developmentally disabled kids and adults who would never get a chance to go camping or do things that many of us take for granted when we camp like cooking over an open fire, enjoying s’mores, arts and crafts, and so much more. We travel there too perform maintenance and other building projects so they can continue to minister to the people.

This is a big way of showing God’s love to others, by doing things for them. We cleaned, split logs, skimmed a pond, sorted items for a resale shop, mowed, pressure washed, and stained a wooden stage. These were just a few of the projects we have worked on over the years and as we look back over the many years we have been there, we can point to major projects that have helped Camp Courageous in their ministry.

Here in Lanark, there is a group that has begun a ‘workation’ which helps people around the community with little projects around their homes. This is a way for those in our community to experience the same thing with loving others. This small community becomes it’s own mission field as groups from not only the churches, but also community groups, pitch in and help all over.

Loving others doesn’t have to mean completing projects, however. It can be as simple as having a cup of coffee and sharing some of your time listening to someone about some issues they are having. It can be giving someone a hug when they need it the most. It may be telling them that you really care about them. Showing our love for others comes in many different forms. I wonder how you can show your love to someone else today? What would that look like? How can you participate in the Kingdom of God right where you are by loving someone else?