Respect and Love on the Journey

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Hiking to the Channels in Southwest Virginia, with good friends. Spring 2014

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

We love to hike, especially with friends. There is something relaxing about the exertion of being outside, walking together, noting flowers, trees, views, and putting one foot in front of the other toward a common destination.

Walking the same path on a hike, we share the trail, gently helping one another as we climb or descend, talking or walking in silence, allowing the sound of the woods to fill the spaces between our words. The common experience bonds us so that at the end, often sweaty and sore, we can look at one another and feel a sense of accomplishment about sharing a trail for the day.

In life we often walk different trails. We tend to love our own, born as it is of our upbringing, our own points of view, and our firm persuasions, based on our personal experience. In my life, the challenge is to look to the right and the left and to see others on the path of life, on distinctly different trails and to love and respect them where they are. I don’t think the goal of life is to convince them to walk on my particular trail but to first, with the eyes of love, get to know theirs and love them right where they are, all the while wanting what is best and most loving. If invited, I can share the beauty of my particular journey, and the convictions that lead me to walk this particular path. But first, I must acknowledge that there are many beautiful paths on the road of life, all occupied by those God has lovingly created. I must ask myself hard questions every day: Am I staying true to my path? Am I loving other’s right where they are? Am I enjoying God as I walk along or am I spending my time being resentful of or hating others’ paths? These are questions that guide my days.

Loving others on their paths does not mean that we agree with them; it means that even if we do disagree, we do it without being disagreeable. As the song says, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” One step. One foot in front of the other. Walking together.

Prayer:

Lord, help me to love others on their paths today.

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