this is my senior challenge that i gave at the last Higher Ground.
i cried through much of it,
so if you couldn't understand what i was saying, here it is

I am going to talk about love. Not the, “she is so totally in love with him!” love. But the love that took its form in a man, not much older than ourselves, who bled, sweat, suffered immensely, and died the cruelest of deaths, nailed to a cross, forsaken by his father, to save our souls. This is the love that comes from God.

You do not “fall” into love. Love does not just happen. Love is a choice. Love is a conscious decision. The people you love, you choose to love. Loving God, that is a choice as well. God granted us this choice because he loves us. Some choose to love worldly things. They choose financial ambition, popularity, sexual pleasures, alcohol, work… Yet despite it all, they come up short. This is because we cannot love people, without first loving God.

This is what I truly want to talk to you about. Do you wake up every morning and choose to love the people around you? Or do you just expect to love them? Love is a choice. People will enter and exit your life, but do you love them? Are you showing your heavenly father’s love to them? When they look at you, do they see the cross? If they do not, then you need to reevaluate your life. Now. Right Now. Not later. Now.

People need to be loved. That is why we spend our whole lives searching for it. Some of you know the love of Christ, but still search for it in other places, people, or even gods. The people around you need to be loved. And you need to choose to love them. This, this is not a choice. God commands us to love one another as we love ourselves. And I have got to tell you. We love ourselves a whole lot! Do we love other people the same way we love ourselves?

Maybe you’re the good kid. That was me in high school. I was the good kid. I hung out with the right crowd. I wore the conservative clothes. I didn’t date until my senior year. I never took a sip of alcohol. I never smoked a cigarette. I never touched a drug. But instead of loving on the people who did do these things. I shunned them. I looked down on them. I put myself before them, I loved myself more than them. I felt that because they did not love God, that they were not worthy of my love! How then, were they supposed to know the love of Christ, if I, the Christian was not showing it to them?

Maybe you’re the kid I looked down on. Maybe you are searching for or avoiding God in alcohol, drugs, sports, music, sex, popularity, whatever it is… And to you, I apologize. For the times when I, and other Christians did not treat you as our sisters and brothers in Christ, as children of God.

My opinions of how we are to love have changed a lot in the past year. I have discovered the love that God has for me. I have discovered his voice in the still, small, silence. I have gotten to know God on a level more intimate than I could reach with any person. I have discovered how to love. Truly love.

This then, is my challenge to you. Love the people around you. Don’t pretend to. Really, truly, deeply love them. We must love one another. If there is any calling, any responsibility that our generation has, it is to love one another. People are crying, screaming, starving, dieing to be loved! Who will love them, if not us?!

I am not sure that I can get put into words this feeling that makes my heart feel as though it will burst out of my chest. And maybe you think I’m crazy, a lunatic even. Maybe everything I have said meant nothing to you. But if you caught any part of what I said, may it be that you love others. Love until you feel as though you cannot love anymore. Love fully. Love deeply. And love completely. And when you feel as though you cannot possibly love any more, love again.

God has great plans for our generation. Great plans, that go beyond what we can dream up, or come close to fathoming. And I believe that a major element of these plans, will be showing the love of Christ to those who are deemed unworthy of it. There are big things happening in our world right now, things bigger than ourselves. We can surround these things with apathy, ignorance, and hate. Or we can spread love, joy, and salvation. The choice is yours.


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