“I’ve got to stop using my husband as my illustrations,” I thought to myself immediately before I used my husband as my illustration.

He recently had a birthday and is one of those people that says they want nothing for their birthday, nor do they want to do anything for their birthday. For me, that was a hard pill to swallow because I know he actually meant it. I’m just one of those people that feels wrong for not celebrating in some way, shape, or form something that I feel should be celebrated. But that’s the point: celebrating because I wanted to when he didn’t would have defeated the entire purpose of celebrating his birthday.

We can love our people as much as we want but if we’re only loving them the way we want to then we’re still just loving ourselves more.

We can love our people as much as we want but if we’re only loving them the way we want to then we’re still just loving ourselves more. In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Are we respecting their choices? Are we honoring their opinions even if we disagree? Are we making them feel judged if we disagree? Learn to see your thoughts and conversations through the lens of, “Am I reflecting Jesus?” Jesus put it simply in John 15:17, “This is my command: Love each other.” I would argue that to be a reflection of Jesus is to be a reflection of love, and to love well is to take an interest in others.

I would have never known how to best celebrate my husband’s birthday if I hadn’t asked him. Paul tells us to, “Take an interest in others too.” Talk to people; take an interest in their lives; let these conversations shift your perspective from yourself. Ask them how their week is going and actually listen to their answers. One of the largest sources of division in the world in the last year has been a lack of empathy and understanding for the people around us. Listen to why people are concerned about wearing or not wearing masks. Listen to why people care as much as they do about racial issues. Kindness is too often speculated for coming with an ulterior motive; genuine kindness shouldn’t be that rare. Be generous with your time to hear and empathize with people’s emotions around every controversial topic that comes up. In a time with no lack of controversy, there shouldn’t be a lack of kindness either.

This same principle can be applied to our relationships with Jesus, in order to love Him, make sure that you know Him. Read your Bible and spend some time with Him; get to know Him. Jesus already put us all above Him when He died on the cross and knowing Him more will further fuel our hearts to reflect His love to everyone around us.

By Melanie Ramirez

Melanie Ramirez is blog writer and member of the Manassas campus Prayer Team. She works as a job coach for individuals with disabilities and has been spending her quarantine cooking, crafting, and writing letters to as many people as she can.

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