Reflections by Rev. John Farmer

by John Howard Farmer

Start with loving self

 The great gift the Apostle John gave us is his repeated messages about love. Throughout his gospel and pastoral letters (1st, 2nd & 3rd John), he portrays Jesus as “before the world in order stood…” For John, our Lord and His Father spoke the world into existence and quickly reminds us that God’s love in fact does make the world go ‘round. Love brings the world into order. Perhaps that’s why God allowed John his long life: he was all about LOVE.

Here’s a listing of love suggestions I’ve harvested:

Let’s start with self. We cannot make someone love us. All we can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

I have forgotten where I first read these words—but God gave them to me, and I have practiced, preached, sung, and prayed them for decades. Join me, read with me a brief creed to live by, which can help us to become more lovable:

“No matter how much we care, some people just don’t care back;

It takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

It’s not what we have in our lives, but whom we have in our life, which counts.

We can get by on charm for about 15 minutes; after that, we’d better know something.

We shouldn’t compare ourselves to the best others can do.

We can do something in an instant that will give us heartache for life.

It’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

We should always leave loved ones with loving words—it may be the last time we see them this side of Heaven.

Jesus can keep us going long after we can’t.

We are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel; either we control our attitude or it controls us.

Heroes are the people who do what has to be done, when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

Money is a lousy way of keeping score.

My best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

Sometimes the people we expect to kick us when we’re down will be the very ones to help us get back up.

Sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

True friendship continues to grow even over the longest distance—same goes for true love.

Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

Maturity has more to do with what types of experiences we’ve had, and what we’ve learned from them; less to do with how many birthdays we’ve celebrated.

One should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish; few things are more humiliating—and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.

Our families won’t always be there for us; it may seem funny, but people we aren’t related to can take care of us, and love us, and teach us to trust people again—families aren’t always biological.

No matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while, and you must forgive them for that; it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others—sometimes you are to learn to forgive yourself.

No matter how bad our heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for our grief.

Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

Just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other, and just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean that they do.

We don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

We shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret; it could change our life forever.

Two people can look at the exact same thing and see things totally different.

No matter how we try to protect our children, they will eventually get hurt and we will hurt in the process.

People who don’t even know us can change our lives in a matter of hours.

Even when we think we have no more to give, when a friend cries out to us, we will find the strength to help.

Credentials on the wall do not make us decent human beings.

The people we care about most in life are always taken from us too soon.

It’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings, and standing up for what you believe.”

All that notwithstanding: when we appreciate that it is all about love, we are the winners.

Tantamount to the whole principle is that we must first love ourselves. What might happen if we all spent a week learning that God’s great investment in us through Christ can be magnified when we take it to heart, mind, and soul, that Jesus does love us—because we are created in the image of his father?