My little cousin is full of questions and very few answers will satisfy her. It makes for interesting conversation, to say the least, but she came up with a tough one the other day.
She was recounting some kids in her class who had different opinions than her’s, and we said that she should love them any way. You know, a kind of turn-the-other-cheek thing. Then she asked:
“How do I love people I don’t know?”
Now, there’s a stumper.
It’s easy to love family or people who are kind to us, but loving the stranger on the street or the annoying neighbor is altogether different.
If life teaches us anything, it’s that exchanging hate for hate gets you nowhere. I think the key to it all is compassion. No matter who it is, I try to imagine life in their shoes and how I would want to be treated. I don’t know about you, but I need forgiveness when I’m wrong. I need patience when I’m being stubborn. And most of all, when I’m acting unlovable, that’s when I need love the most. It makes sense that I would then show those virtues to others. It’s the golden rule: Do to others what you would want done to you.
Compassion can include a host of different things: bringing people food, asking how they are and genuinely listening for an answer, or even a simple smile. There’s no shortage of ways to love a stranger.
My little cousin’s mother summed it up nicely. “Just be nice to them.”
What do you do to show compassion everyday? How do you love people you don’t know?
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