I love to look for new ways to express familiar concepts. I like to take the old words that have become almost meaningless and say them in modern words that fire them with clarity and understanding.
Today I thought about the familiar command to Christians: Love one another.
We all know what it means, or do we? Have warm feelings? Be kind? And so on. But what does it look fleshed out in the rushing around days of my hectic life where I bump into all kinds of people, some I like and some I don't.
In the business world we hear about "adding value", and I think I can use it to revolutionize my relationships and do exactly what scripture commands.
If I see that everyone I meet has inherent value as a creation of God, then I will either add to their value, or diminish their value (subtract from it) by the words I speak and by my attitude.
If my goal is "to love" or "add value", then I can ask myself, "How can I add value to this person's life?
It could be a smile, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a touch, a prayer, a kind helpful deed...whatever seems to be the most appropriate word or action for the moment.
In actuality, I would be bringing Christ to that person in some way.
Conversely, if I gossip, judge and crtiicize, or any other sin against people, then I am guilty of diminishing that person in the eyes of others, not "adding value."
I have at least one very difficult person in my life who causes me angst on a daily basis. I often flare up in anger and frustration and self defense.
I have no loving feelings whatsoever, in fact my feelings are extremely negative, most of the time.
But what would happen if I asked God "How can I bless this person with your love today? How can I add value to their life?"
If I am sincere, I think I will hear some instructions, and then I can truly act in "agape", selfless love.
To think in terms of "adding value" gets me out of the realm of "feelings" into a concrete, practical world of "action" which is what faith and love are all about..faith acts through love...I can act without love, but I cannot truly love without actions.