July 20th, 2007

Christ-like Love

My brother Brennan headed to Zambia a couple months before I arrived to work on the new land for the summer. About a week after my arrival, I asked him what the main lesson he had learned during his time in Zambia was.

His response: “Christ-like love”.

Throughout my trip I encountered numerous examples and demonstrations of the love of this people. It amazed me constantly. My realist mind kept trying to figure out how a people so destitute, so impoverished, so victimized, could love so much.

Perhaps the answer lies in the scriptures, where we see numerous examples of humble people having a greater capacity to love the Lord and His children. Why is it that temporal possessions and material prosperity tends to diminish our willingness and potential to love? It seems evident that living a life of temporal penury creates a natural dependency upon God.

The people demonstrated their love so openly. I was amazed at how each day I was greeted as if I hadn’t seen the person in years, when in fact I was with them a day or two previous. Each reunion was celebrated, with hugs and laughter and sincere appreciation for friendship and the shared love.

It was amazing to be in an environment where you were loved without judgment, without guile, without hidden intentions or masked opinions. I was loved sincerely by these people who understood true brotherhood. They know that we’re all God’s children, and they treat you as such.

It’s odd being surrounded by unfeigned love for several weeks and then returning to a culture that in many cases is lacking in this department. One example: in Zambia it’s quite common for men to hold hands as they talk and walk. This is in no way a homosexual act—it is an expression of love and friendship. Can you get away with doing that in our culture without being considered a homosexual? Fat chance…

Is it possible to truly love God and His children when we live affluent lives of luxury? Can we effectively mourn with those who mourn when we have no cause to mourn of our own? Can we empathize with a brother dying of AIDS and living on $2/day when we are healthy and wealthy?

I will never forget the inherent love that the great people of Zambia possess. They are an inspiration, and in every case I learned more from them than any of them learned from me. My return on this trip was far greater than any paltry investment I made. I will strive to be more like my brothers and sisters who truly know what it is to possess and manifest Christ-like love.

3 Responses to “Christ-like Love”

  1. Naiah
    July 20, 2007 at 2:32 pm #

    Wow, Connor–What a powerful lesson. Even just your reflection of their love here is touching. We are commanded of the Lord to love, but you are right in that our culture imposes limits on the ‘socially acceptable’ manifestations of that love. I think that’s something that we should look to overcome. Thanks.

  2. Frank Staheli
    July 22, 2007 at 6:40 pm #

    They love because they still understand the important things in life. I went with my children on their choir tour the past two weeks. I noticed that of all their concerts, the one that was by far the best attended was by the people of Queens, New York. I think it is because the people who live there are more likely to be new to America and to have not yet been tainted by the rat race.


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