To love is a choice we make. The great feelings follow down the road a bit. Once we make the choice, we have options about how to love. One is to notice the gifts already given to us and to be guided and empowered by them.
Author Rose Mary Dougherty says, “Discernment is ultimately about love. It is about seeing, in the moment, the loving action and the compassionate action that is mine and have the freedom to respond and to act.”
One of the ways of nurturing discernment is to pray for others, especially those who trigger our negative reactions. Try this: When you find yourself labeling or fighting or turning away or rejecting someone, hold out your hands as you would in receiving the Eucharist. Imagine the person or persons causing you stress in the palm of your hand, where Jesus’ body would be. Just hold them there in the presence of God who is love. Resist the urge to tell God what you think they need. Just hold them there.
This freedom for love is at the core of our faith. We just need to trust it.
This message was adapted from “Freedom for Love” written by Lynn C. Ramshaw that first appeared in the March 2011 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. Today is April Fool’s Day, a great opportunity to do something a little light-hearted or humorous.