Two weeks ago I went to see Jason Mraz in concert. I really like him. I’ve been listening to his music for a long time. My oldest daughter, Brittney, used to listen to him a lot and she’s the one who introduced me to his music way back in the day.
What I love about him is that his music is generally happy and about love. Not necessarily romantic love all of the time but lots of songs about loving everyone around you. This is also the Christian message. Love everyone the way Jesus Christ loves them. See them as children of Heavenly Parents.
None of that is easy to do.
There were two things he said during his concert that struck me and I sent a text message to myself so that I could remember it later. I don’t have exact quotes but the main idea of what he said is in there.
First I wrote to myself, “Do I make people feel welcomed and accepted for who they are?”
As some people said to Christ in the New Testament, this is a hard saying. After that they decided not to follow Christ anymore. I’ll tell you why I think it’s a hard saying. We are commanded to love each other. No matter what. Yes, we have been given commandments and standards and rules to follow but in the end we have each been given the gift of agency in our lives and we can choose to accept or reject the things that God has asked us t do. We each have our own path and are at different points. But the fact that someone doesn’t make the same choices as you doesn’t make them less valuable in God’s eyes and we need to be looking at people as God sees them. As His children. He is hopeful and desirous that we will all choose the best path that He has laid out fir us but if we don’t choose it that doesn’t stop Him from loving us. And our job here is to help others feel valuable and see their worth and help them along the way.
Of course it’s easier for us to love people who are like us. Who think like we do, who have the same…whatever. But can we love people who we think are making bad choices? Can we love people who we think aren’t working as hard as we are? Who are raising their kids a different way? Who dress differently? Who say things we don’t agree with? Who voted for the other guy? We have to learn how. and the only way to learn how is to practice. And sometimes that means opening ourselves up to being vulnerable so we can find things in common.
The second things I texted to myself was, “We are either asking for love or we are love. Asking can come through anger or upset.” This goes back to the first question. If someone is angry, upset, or acting out in another way, often that means that they just want to be heard, understood and ultimately loved. Usually, our reaction is going to be the deciding factor in how things progress. Are we going to feed that anger or upset by reacting in a loud, angry or upset way? Or are we going to react quietly, with understanding and patience. Another hard thing.
Who do we want to be?
Yesterday I was in the McDonald’s drive through. McDonald’s has the best Diet Coke. That’s just a fact. Anyway, it’s one of those drive throughs with two lanes for ordering that then goes down into one lane to pick up at the window. So you kind of take turns getting into the pick up line. Sometimes people get confused or don’t know how it works and things get a little confused. So, the lady in front of me placed her order and she pulled up in front of the guy in the other line. It was actually his turn to merge but she didn’t wait.
This guy started yelling the most foul words at her and calling her the most awful names. We are at McDonald’s. Nobody is dying and it’s nothing any of us should be eating anyway and he was so angry and was saying how he was going to ram her car and using language….and you know how sometimes people swear and you can just let it go? It’s different when it’s with anger. And all the time that he was so angry I kept thinking that he probably has people who love him and what would they say if they saw this? Or does he treat the people he loves this way too? It’s still bothering me. 24 hours later.
What kind of person do we want to be?
I’m going to try to be more loving.