Reading the Bible everyday has me thinking. When I read that Jesus wants us to love and care for everyone it brought me back to a place where I had trouble with this command. Not because I was hateful but because I didn’t really love or care for myself.
When I lived at home as a teenager I had a couple of years where I had anger and resentment in my heart. My parents and I had little communication and when we did communicate it was usually to yell at each other. I had hardened my heart to those who cared about me the most.
I remember sitting in my room and my Dad walked in and tossed a book on my bed. When he left I picked up the book and looked at it. It was some sort of self-help book. I can’t remember the name. I probably rolled my eyes, but I did glance at it. Over the next week I skimmed this book until I came to a chapter with the title, Fake it Until You Make It. I was interested so I read the chapter.
The Doctor or whoever wrote this book was asking the reader to imagine who they wanted to be, how they wanted to interact with people, and then act that way, even if it went against the way you would normally act.
My first reaction was probably another eye roll and an attitude of I will not be fake. I will always be myself no matter what the consequences. (You know how teenagers can be).
Then I realized the suggestion was not asking me to be fake it was asking me to “act” in a way that I would like to be. So I thought I would give it a try.
My first experiment came quickly, I heard my mom yelling my name from downstairs. I stood at the top of the stairs and answered her. My mom started yelling about some clothes I didn’t fold. My whole being wanted to yell back, the unfairness of it all built up inside of me. I wanted to bring up why she didn’t scream at my brother. But instead I thought of the book my dad gave me. I was going to fake it. I clenched my fists and in a nice voice said, ‘Sorry mom, it won’t happen again.” I thought she might have keeled over in shock because I didn’t hear anything. Then my mom said in a normal voice, “Ok Hun thanks.”
I could not believe this worked, I continued to “fake” it with everyone and I started to see my life turn into something that I wanted to see. The yelling stopped, I was becoming calm. I was building good relationships. I was genuinely loving and caring for people.
The idea that I could not change others only myself became my “mantra.”
When Jesus says to love and care for everyone, it can be hard. Now that I have a relationship with God I can take this experience that I had as a teenager and apply it to what Jesus wants me to do.
I am not talking about pretending to love people; I am talking about seeing Jesus in everyone and loving them for that reason. When a person comes along where it seems Jesus is well hidden inside of them, I will find the compassion and the courage to love them, even if I have to fake it until I make it.