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Sowing Seeds of Love
Growing Your Spiritual Garden Part 1
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22
Have you ever heard the phrase, "You reap what you sow."? Chances are that you have heard this phrase until it has become nothing but mere cliche. People use this phrase to emphasize the consequences of negative behavior or to illustrate that an individual got what he or she deserved. Today, I want to put a positive spin on this age-old philosophy. Chew on these ideas for a while and see what you think.
What if every person on the planted decided to grow a "spiritual garden"? Not a physical garden, mind you, but an emotional garden ready to receive the seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Think about what a different world it would be for all of humanity.
Christians know these behaviors as the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but every religion strives to do good in hopes of a spiritual reward. Like all habits, these behaviors take time to cultivate. Growing a spiritual garden takes time because each individual embarking on this mission must focus on his or her actions with intention. In this first segment, we will contemplate sowing seeds of love.
Love is a complex emotion. As humans, we all yearn to be loved. Without love, it is difficult to survive. It is an emotion that we all need and long to receive, but we often find it difficult to give love. The act of giving love is an act of self-sacrifice. Saying the words "I love you" roll off the tongue almost automatically, but do we really think about what we are saying?
To say "I love you" is to make a commitment to another person. In order to plant real seeds of love, we must open our hearts to others so that we are ready, willing, and able to give love when it is needed. People find it difficult to give love because something has made them close the door to the idea of loving and being loved.
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
― Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa believed in love; and, in fact, there are few people that can display this degree of love and self sacrifice. Mother Teresa's ministry took her into the pits of death as she wandered the streets searching out the dying, showing them respect, and allowing them to die with dignity.
Every human being has the capacity to love like Mother Teresa, but something holds us back. Perhaps the main reason why we find it difficult to love is that we are too busy judging others. We look away from the poor and hungry often blaming them for their own poverty. Is this the way to plant seeds of love? The answer is "no!" When we judge and blame others for their misfortunes, we are only sowing seeds that produce more judgement and blame. Love can not flourish in this type of garden. The emotions of judgement and blame are thorns and weeds that will only choke to death the good things that have managed to sprout and grow in our spiritual gardens. Therefore, these behaviors must be eliminated in order for love to take root and grow.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
The only way to let the light in is to purge darkness from our lives. Plants can not grow without light; therefore, light must also be present, in a metaphorical sense, to grow a garden of love. Darkness and hatred are entities that feed off of each other. Have you ever been so consumed with hatred that you seem to fall deeper and deeper into an abyss of complete darkness?
We have all experienced our dark moments of the soul when our lives are consumed by complete darkness and the darkness can be somewhat overwhelming. However, when we open our hearts to the idea of love, a tiny, little sliver of light creeps into our hearts and the love drives the hatred and darkness out of our lives.
It only takes a few minutes each day to practice opening your heart to love. I encourage you to look for ways to incorporate love into your lives. When you do, you will be richly rewarded and will have planted the first seed in your spiritual garden.
I bid you grace and peace until we meet again.