December 30, 2014

An Easy Way to Spread Love.


I saw a man on the street the other day holding a sign that said, “Jesus loves you.”

I’ve seen people holding signs like this a thousand times, but never have I seen a person holding a sign that read, “I love you.”

Imagine how reading a sign that says: “I love you” would feel. It is a special feeling, a more intimate one.

I’d want to go up to the guy holding the sign and tell him I love him right back. I’d want to thank him and give him a hug. I think an experience like this would probably make my whole day brighter.

I’m not Christian, but didn’t Jesus say, “Love one another as I have loved you?”

I don’t think Jesus said to walk around with signs professing his love for people. I think that deep down the guy with the “Jesus loves you” sign wants to hold an “I love you sign” but telling people that someone else loves them is much easier.

The guy with the sign gets to deliver a beautiful, heartfelt message—without having to be vulnerable. But is he spreading love or just good news?

We have so much love to give, but it feels awkward to offer it to others—especially strangers. We save it for our family, close friends and a handful of lovers over the course of our lives.

I believe that Jesus wanted to teach us that being pure love and handing it out unconditionally is something we were born to do. We’ve forgotten how to love freely so it feels strange.

Instead, some people have chosen to say, “Hey everybody! Jesus loves you!” I guess that’s better than nothing.

So here we are, pure-love-energy walking around all separate from each other, only loving a few and not the whole world and we hear about Jesus. We hear about how he fed the poor, defended the imperfect and declared his unconditional love for everyone and we declare, “Jesus is Awesome!”

Learning about a person like Jesus excites us, because deep down we know that we want to behave just like Jesus did. But alas, we are scared and uncomfortable with our own love, so we go around telling people that they are loved by this super-awesome person named Jesus!

That will make everyone feel great and we just love making people feel great! What we don’t realize is that we are capable of loving everyone just like Jesus did.

Jesus set a great example.

I don’t believe he wanted us to spread his love, I think he was showing us, by example, what unconditional love looks like, so we could try it for ourselves. Spreading our own unique love shows the world that we actually learned something from Jesus.

That’s what people really need—our love. They don’t need love from a person who died long, long ago—they need it from a friend or stranger.

Receiving love isn’t the best part—giving love feels good too.

When we love another we are in our highest form; it’s our natural state. But somehow it’s become embarrassing to tell a complete stranger that we love them.

Jesus wasn’t embarrassed. Jesus was the bomb at sharing love.

This is our natural state—to be loving to everyone.

But we’ve forgotten that.

We join churches so we can feed the poor, care for one another and have community and sharing in the name of God. Somehow, doing something nice for someone “just because” is uncomfortable for some people.

Once a month I put on a “free hug” event in Waikiki. I’ve been asked several times by people walking by if we are part of a church or other organization. They want to know what we are promoting or what our return on this investment of time will be. “Who are you guys with?” they ask.

Many seem shocked to find that we are doing it just for fun. We aren’t hiding behind a purpose or cause. We are sharing our personal love with other people. We are exposing our hearts and giving of ourselves.

From one stranger to another, I want to hug you—because I love you.

People have so much love to give and they keep it bottled up. They think saying “I love you” is only for a special few and that only Jesus and other spiritual leaders are capable or “allowed” to love everyone unabashedly.

Jesus was a man who lived his life in a loving way that we are all capable of.

He was free to love and so are we. If we truly want to spread his love, we should spread our own and if someone asks, “Where’d you learn how to walk around like pure-love-energy personified?” tell them,” Jesus taught me.”


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Author: Lealyn Poponi  

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr, wikimedia

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