Love Intentionally

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. John 13:34

Dear members and friends,

The common denominator of the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Confucius and Lao-zi is love with an emphasis on our ability to love others. This is hopeful news for humanity because these great teachers believed that we are capable of loving others. At the same time, all of them pointed out innate selfishness as our greatest challenge. Thus, the fundamental question has always been, “How could an innately selfish being become a being who loves others?” 

Love has been and still is the theme for countless novels, movies, and songs in human communities throughout the world. Most humans seek a way to be loved by someone or everyone. And most people feel great pleasure and happiness when they feel that they are loved by someone. Most of us may even agree that we cannot survive without loving someone or something, and being loved by someone. The word “love” is defined as “an intense feeling of deep affection,” or “a great interest and pleasure in something,” or “a person or thing that one loves.” Essentially, we could agree that what we call love is a kind of feeling. And a feeling is an emotional state of being, meaning it exists outside of reasoning and logic. Thus, it could be very challenging to know and understand the nature of love that we are experiencing at any given moment, except that we feel good about having it.   

Great teachers emphasized that we should not only acknowledge the necessity of loving others, but also cultivate how to love others intentionally in our daily lives. In Gospels, Jesus emphasizes the importance of loving others as the second greatest commandment! What this means is that love, which is in essence a feeling, could be voluntarily and intentionally cultivated by means of reason and logic. Thus, the secret of being able to love others might lie in our willingness to put an intentional effort into it. According to Jesus, we are capable of loving pretty much anyone, as he emphasizes to “love your enemy.” 

My brothers and sisters in God. In this season of hope and love, let us put aside what has been boiling and causing turmoil in our heart lately. Let us put an intentional effort to fill our heart with the serenity of love that is from above.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee