Resolving to be more loving

Somewhere in the confusion of passing into 2012, I forgot to make New Year’s resolutions. I suppose these can still be tendered, since we are less than a fortnight into the new year. Perhaps the most appropriate resolutions would center around the broad, yet vital theme of learning to be a more loving person.

Love is not that which focuses on oneself, but rather on the other person or persons. Often enough, the antithesis of love emerges not as hate, but as the preoccupation with oneself and one’s own needs, which blocks out focusing on the other.

Love is a verb, an action word. It is not a mushy feeling, a blind reaction, or a word which makes people feel good by saying and not doing.

Love does not promote itself. Love does not have to remind the other, be it friend or lover or relative, how great “I” am. Rather it seeks to enhance the talents, skills, capabilities of the loved one.

Love does not push in front of others. Love is courteous, and courtesy seems to be a lost art in our society, in some ways. Courtesy is not the formal manners sometimes implied by that term — though it includes them — but is treating another with gentility and grace. At least in the intimate kind of relationship, it is easy for graciousness to be pushed aside in the commonness of one taking another for granted.

Love does not play the game of “poor me.” This may be a way to get others to empathize, or perhaps worse to sympathize, but it is not the way to exchange love with another. Love is a meeting of equals.

Love is a place of humility. Humility is not negating oneself, nor putting oneself down, but is rather a realistic view that reminds one of the existence of both strengths and weaknesses.

Love is, by some of the above principles, both encompassing of more persons than one might otherwise include, and is at the same time a more serious commitment.

Included in those resolutions could be one to love oneself. Part of that self love would engage self discipline, which is a key factor in many resolutions:

• To eat and live healthy.

• To work out regularly.

• To read or study or meditate more.

Here’s to a more loving 2012.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian High School. He can be contacted at: