On average, in your lifetime you will meet and interact with approximately 80,00 other people. That’s a lot of potential lives to change. That’s a lot of stories to be heard, hands to hold, laughs to be had. That’s 80,000 chances to spread His love.
I’ve always worked very hard at finding the good in everyone. I try not to ever judge anyone too harshly, or to truly dislike them. It’s important for me to recognize their story, their struggle, and how it shaped them to be who they are today. Because no one is a jerk for no reason. I know that’s the lie many of us tell ourselves when the stranger on the street inconveniences us, or the cashier at the grocery store is less than kind. (Trust me, I’ve felt this way more times than I can count too.) But these people have a reason. It may not be what we define as justified, but there is something that made them act the way they are acting.
My favorite quote of all time is one by Anne Frank, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” And I really, truly, whole-heartedly believe that.
But this type of mentality can be tricky. I’ve been told many times that I let people “walk all over me.” I’ve been told I’m gullible. At times, I let others push my limits, I let them use me. And frankly, they’re right. But I’m okay with it, because I’d rather see the best in people, I’d rather utilize my time here on earth with them for good. I don’t want to spread anger, resentment, or judgment. So I focus on the positive.
However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve been told time and time again to let go of those negative people. I’ve been told that I don’t need them in my life. So this gets me to my point, today I want to talk a little bit about the importance of surrounding yourself with love.
This mentality isn’t a new one, not at all. I’ve seen it discussed all over the internet, in self-help readings, and I’ve even been told this in person. It is important to surround yourself with positive people. It gives you a sense of security, it allows you to grow, it plants the seeds for inspiration, and most importantly, it makes you feel loved and allows you to share love in a comofortable setting. Paralell to this idea of surrounding yourself with positive people is the idea that you can let negative people go. You know who I’m talking about, those not-so-positive, not-so-Jesus-loving, not-so-nice individuals in your life. You’ve probably been told to get them out of your life, and you can do that. But here’s my thought on this…
Don’t give up on them.
God tells us in John 15:12, “Love each other as I have loved you.” So think about it. Have you ever treated God poorly? Have you sinned? Have you gone against His will and His plan? Have you ignored Him? God could “let us go” if He chose to. He could choose to only love non-sinners, or those who ALWAYS listen to His call. But He doesn’t. He chooses to LOVE all of us, with all of our flaws, no matter how poorly we treat Him in return. So if our job is to love others as He loves us, that means loving those who have ignored us, hurt us, treated us poorly at some point or another.
So don’t give up. Surround yourself and spend quality time with those who lift you up, but don’t give up those who tear you down either. They might need your positive spirit, they might need your smile, your encouragement, they might need your love to get them through their hard days. So surround yourself with love and surround others with love too, even if they don’t always return the favor.