PASTOR'S PEN: Practice love

"No, not like that. Here, let me show you." I don't know if you remember the first time you cracked open an egg for an omelet but I think a few teens will remember their introduction to proper egg opening.

We were making omelets in a bag for Sunday School. They're very easy and are quite delicious. Just a look at the empty plates after we were finished proves that. But the making of the omelets was a lesson in egg operation for some teens. This was their first experience with cracking open an egg and it was interesting to watch.

Some teens had obviously viewed shows or experienced eggs dropping on the ground and breaking open. They assumed this meant eggs open very easily and so they delicately tapped their eggs on the edge of the counter or bowl. This resulted in nothing. They would tap just a bit harder creating a slight crack, which they would attempt to open with their fingers ending in a mess and the frustrating endeavor of egg shell removal from their bowls. Other teens, certain they could do much better, simply smashed the egg into the side of the bowl causing egg insides to splatter all over the counter and floor.

Our first experience with something can be a difficult adjustment. With only a few lessons in proper technique these young men and women successfully cracked open eggs and made wonderful tasting omelets. It just took a little practice. The same thing is true in showing love. Romans 12 and 13 talk about love. Here's a few excerpts:

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor ... Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse ... associate with the lowly ... Never pay back evil to anyone ... But if your enemy is hungry, feed him ... Love your neighbor as yourself."

Those commands are things that do not come naturally. I want to get someone back who has hurt me, not feed them or bless them! I want to be served, not give preference to someone else. But God's idea of love is different. He doesn't say, "Love when it fits in your schedule. Love those who love you and not those who hate you." NO! He says to love those who love you, love those who don't love you, love those who can repay and love those who cannot — all the same. Actually, He may even say to love those who cannot repay even more.

But I don't like doing those things and I don't feel comfortable doing them. So what should you do? The same thing as those who don't feel comfortable cracking an egg for the first time: Practice. I could have cracked all those eggs for them, but they still wouldn't be able to crack an egg. They had to be uncomfortable for a time to learn to do it right. You and I need to be uncomfortable for a time, loving those hard to love and those who hurt us so that we can learn to love even more.

Are you struggling to love someone? Practice loving them today. It won't feel comfortable, but don't worry, you'll get better at it the more you practice.