Love to Live, Live to LoveHow we treat each other is important.
“I’d like to teach the world to sing / In perfect harmony / I’d like to hold it in my arms and keep it company.”
These words were originally written as a jingle for a Coke commercial. The jingle became so popular, Coke formed a group called the Hillside Singers to record a full version. The song’s popularity landed it at the top of the country, contemporary and pop charts in 1971, giving a large portion of its profits to charity.
I’ve become so frustrated at how people treat each other.
Even now when someone sings those words, one recalls the commercial with people hand in hand on a hillside. I was once told it should be my theme song. I simply want everyone to get along. At the same time I’ve been told, “That’s an impossible dream, Diane.”
They are right. This week however, I had an ‘A-ha’ moment. I’ve become so frustrated at how people treat each other. Constantly complaining or judging others; this group belittling that one. Yes, I know. It’s always been that way. Funny how as long as the injustices of the world are at arms-length, and not in our own backyard, we can accept them.
Over my lifetime, I’ve constantly felt I had to choose this person over that one; this group over another. Bikers, Businessmen; Blacks, Whites; Christians, non-Christians; Iranians, Jews; Marrieds, Singles; Rich, Poor; Young, Old; Boys and Girls. Why do we have to choose? Why all the labels?
A friend asked me if I really had to choose, or felt I had to. Both! It started early. In Grade One I had two best girlfriends, and an assignment called for us to choose a partner. They both looked at me to see who I would choose. Not wanting to hurt their feelings, I chose them to be partners and I chose a boy. YIKES. So began the repercussions of my choices. Labelled: Boy Lover. Couldn’t we all be friends? This was a reoccurring theme through the years. Jealous friends, insecure boyfriends. Can’t be friends with everyone, I had to choose between this social circle and that one. It continues today.
I’d complain to my parents with nasty things coming out of my mouth. Dad would quickly shut me down with this disgusted look saying, “Now is that nice?” I knew what he meant. My parents always taught me to accept everyone. I had a friend growing up, who still says, “It’s nice to be nice.” I have these constant reminders echoing in my head whenever I’m on the verge of not being nice.
Often I feel like I’m travelling on a lost highway that no one understands. I hate picking sides or having to choose which friends I can see or hang out with. My epiphany this week was, “I don’t have to. It’s not my problem. I can love everyone.” I will, and have, taken heat for hanging out with certain groups, but apparently I’m in good company.
Jesus hung out with sinners; that’s me! He loved me when I thought I was unlovable. He encouraged me when I thought I had done too many bad things to be in His presence. He strengthened me when I tried to do the same and became an outcast. He IS love and is teaching me to be the same.
According to Matthew 12, the two greatest commands are:
1) Love your God with all your heart, soul and mind and,
2) Love your neighbour as yourself. I DO! I’ve discovered my purpose on earth:
Love to Live, Live to Love, without counting the cost.
Diane Exner loves to encourage others in every area of life. She loves challenging and teaching others to stress less and live each day to the fullest. Her website is: www.diane-exner.com. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org and would love to hear how life is going for you!
Originally published in City Light News, July 2009.
Used with permission. Copyright © 2009 Christianity.ca.