A few years back, my daughter came home from school and told me her teacher said, “To love someone is to want the best for him.” I had never heard that before, but it solved a puzzle for me. I was taught that as Christians we must love “everybody,” but I never could understand how we could love people we didn’t know or love our next door neighbor as much as our own children. My daughter’s definition, however, solves that problem and offers an elegant rule for life.
Reflecting on this simple but profound statement, I realized that I can bring myself to want the best for almost everyone in the whole world–defining “the best” as what is truly good for them, not what they desire to satiate appetites or egos, that is. But every once in awhile, particularly when I feel that I have suffered a real injustice at the hands of another, I find myself thinking, “Boy, I hope that guy gets what coming to him!” Then I remember: “Oh! I’m supposed to truly want the best for him.”
Sometimes it takes me a beat or two to turn myself around, and sometimes I just can’t, but it’s always worth trying to transform my vengeful little thought into something more like a prayer: “I sincerely hope that guy leads a good and happy life from this moment forward.” I don’t have to dwell on the problem I had with him, I just have to genuinely want the best for him, which would also be the best for me–and for all of us!
I like it, it’s simple and it works (most of the time!)
Happy Valentine’s Day!
In case you missed it, here was my previous Valentine’s Post: Love, Like Me!