By Jesse Jost
In the movie “A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood” there is a powerful scene where Mr. Fred Rogers asks his friend to take a moment and just remember all the people who have loved him to where he is today.
It’s an exercise I have been trying to do lately: Making an effort to remember and focus on all the ways that those around me have sacrificed for me, and poured their love and affirmation into my life, and have shown me acts of service and kindness.
It’s amazing the effect this has on me. The fear of rejection, and sense of insecurity and alienation starts to dissipate and is replaced by a sense of feeling loved and protected.
It’s so crazy how our thoughts naturally gravitate to the ways we have been hurt and obsessively doubt if we are liked or loved. Left to its own paths, our brain will constantly focus on what could go wrong and compulsively pick at the scabs of doubt and confusion.
My experience of the world is so different when I firmly direct my mind to focus on all the gifts in my life and the ways people have loved and supported me.
Jude, the half brother of Jesus, commands us to keep ourselves in the love of God. God never leaves us or stops loving us, but our conscious awareness of that love is what wanders.
Is it selfish to focus on the way we’ve been loved and how good our life is, when there is so much tragedy and corruption and abuse going on in the world?
Ask yourself if you are more likely to be an agent of healing and hope when you are filled with unhealed emotional wounds and filled with anxiety and despair? Or when you rest secure in the sense that you are loved and precious and safe?
I believe that keeping our hearts and minds in an awareness of God’s love for us and the ways He has loved us through our friends and family is one of the best ways to bring healing to our heart, then homes, then churches and communities.
John tells us we love God because He first loved us. We are too weak to generate love out of sheer willpower. The love we do show is a responsive love. If you want to heal the world by acts of love and kindness, then you have to fill your own heart with God’s love first.
We need to replace the toxic thoughts of doubt, despair, and confusion, with the unchanging reality of God’s love and grace.
Will you join me in making a commitment to focus on the ways that God has loved us through the cross of Christ, through His body the Church, through those He has placed in our life?
As you bask in this love, I guarantee your heart will be healed and you will become agent of healing in a world that desperately needs it.