Q: “It is not so important to love all men today as it is that each day you learn to love one more human being.” Please give an example what this means, thank you
Thanks so much for this thoughtful question. The cornerstone of Jesus’ teachings is to love God and to love one another. In the abstract, it is easy to say we love all others – it’s easy to acknowledge that all others are my spiritual kin under the Fatherhood of God. But we can’t stop there.
The rest of that passage gives us practical advice:
100:4.6 If each day or each week you achieve an understanding of one more of your fellows, and if this is the limit of your ability, then you are certainly socializing and truly spiritualizing your personality. Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate. But only genuine and unselfish love is truly contagious. If each mortal could only become a focus of dynamic affection, this benign virus of love would soon pervade the sentimental emotion-stream of humanity to such an extent that all civilization would be encompassed by love, and that would be the realization of the brotherhood of man.
Love is more than a feeling. All true love comes from God, and the decision to love is the means by which we can actually share that love – let it flow through us to our world. The Urantia Book actually defines love as the “desire to do good to others.” I like that, as it makes love into a practical action. It invites me to expand my viewpoint.
You ask for an example of learning to love one more human being. In my experience this means being mindful of those with whom I come into contact throughout my day. I can make an effort to see each one as a brother, a sister, a child of God who is struggling as I am to live a meaningful life on this difficult world. A sincere smile to a stranger – the clerk at the store, the delivery driver – this is love. An honest effort to understand the motivation of one who does not think as I do is love. A sincere decision to be tolerant and forgiving towards one who vexes me is love. A decision to do a random act of kindness for one who cannot repay me – this is love. These examples are my own, and perhaps you can think of others that would be meaningful to you.
But as mentioned above, this effort has to be authentic – “genuine and unselfish.” To me, the call to become a true “focus of dynamic affection” is both inspiring and challenging. It calls upon me to make a choice as to my whole orientation towards the world. Not just to my nearest and dearest, but those who I don’t even know.
Even if I may not come into personal, physical contact with others all that much, I can breathe a prayer of peace for someone I read about who is experiencing trouble. I can rejoice at the success of a brother or sister. I can pray for someone’s healing, or sympathize with their loss. I can pray for peace for those who are experiencing turmoil. Just bringing someone into our mind – focusing on this one or that one for a time in loving thought can do untold good.
Jesus gave us a very practical list of fruits of the spirit, most of which can only be done in relationship with others:
193:2.2 “…And the fruits of the divine spirit which are yielded in the lives of spirit-born and God-knowing mortals are: loving service, unselfish devotion, courageous loyalty, sincere fairness, enlightened honesty, undying hope, confiding trust, merciful ministry, unfailing goodness, forgiving tolerance, and enduring peace.”
Perhaps in your own life, you can discover opportunities to practice one or more of these fruits of the spirit in relation to others. This IS love – practical, day-today love that translates as desiring to do good to others. And if we all can do at least some of these on a daily basis, we will do just that much towards building a much better, more loving world. “…this benign virus of love would soon pervade the sentimental emotion-stream of humanity to such an extent that all civilization would be encompassed by love, and that would be the realization of the brotherhood of man.
Thanks again for this question.