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About ten years ago, I took one of my daily strolls over to a local coffee shop that was close to where I was currently serving at a church in California. I just love the variety and culture of coffee houses.

I enjoy watching the interactions between the person taking orders and their customers. I marvel at the ability of people to profusely pontificate around a cup of coffee. It’s the epitome of “The Talk.”  You know what I mean; it’s when someone really has an important topic of conversation they would like to have with you and they cloak it in the question, “How about we go get some coffee together?” Coffee houses have become the place we go to talk about life and discuss topics that deeply matter to us.

I marvel at the ability of people to profusely pontificate around a cup of coffee. It’s the epitome of “The Talk.”

This particular day though, something caught my eye. This coffee shop had decided it was important to help the discussions people were having by providing various “talking points” about life, culture and values. It could be easy to miss, but if you looked behind the sleeve on your cup, you could see it for yourself. Let me share with you the quote by Deepak Chopra, that was on my cup.

“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe.”

As I look around, I notice I am a little older than most in the coffee shop, not by much, but older. These people are being shaped by messages within these subtle quotes, by their discussions, by friendships, by lovers and by coffee houses. The question that arises in my heart is this, where are we in the mix?

I have a few questions for you: How many non-Christian friends do you have and how often do you intentionally make time for them? How does your love for others impact their lives? Does your walk with Jesus Christ speak something different to them about love or just reinforce the belief that loving yourself is the epitome of true love?  I’m not suggesting you need to stand on a box down on the Plaza waving a sign and bull-horning your beliefs to a lost world. I’m simply saying we need to be more effective in spreading the true love of Christ than a coffee house might be in spreading the love-yourself vernacular.

You see, if I am to read the above statement without tempering it with the Word of God, then I have joined the subtle side of our nature that clings to anything that sounds deep and meaningful as truth. I would walk away and believe that in order for me to be fulfilled in life, “I need to love myself and that by loving myself I somehow become attractive.” What a lie! The secret of life is to love others! Period.

God’s Word emphasizes this many times, in many ways:

But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection. -Colossians 3:14 (NKJV)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. -John 13:34 (NKJV)

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. -Romans 13:8 (NKJV)

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Galatians 5:14 (NKJV)

You see, the question isn’t whether there’s a love we have for ourselves. Galatians 5:14 makes it clear that we do have a God-given love for ourselves. However, Jesus-type love is a love we turn toward others.

The people I am drawn to and are the most attractive people I have ever met in my life have been people who have loved me unconditionally through my brokenness. They are the ones who truly do not judge others, but love them. They are the ones who focus on others, not themselves. They are the ones who are open to gestures of love, expecting nothing in return. They are the ones who think about love and express their love, in everything they do. They are the ones who realize that loving others is not mere sentiment, but the ultimate heart of what Christ has called us to be. That is love.

The people I am drawn to and are the most attractive people I have ever met in my life have been people who have loved me unconditionally through my brokenness.

I do like coffee shops. I enjoy the lingo, the ambiance, the smells, and I most enjoy the conversations. What a great environment to see how love could really impact another life. Such a great place to talk about things that really matter.

Let us be aware and intentional in loving others. Love unconditionally. Love like Jesus. Could you add a third love, like love even the unlovely, or love without exception, or maybe love authentically – and then end with Love like Jesus.  In this time of isolation, find ways to love others. Coffee shops aren’t an option right now, but loving others is always an option.

Let us be aware and intentional in loving others. Love unconditionally. Love like Jesus.


Shawn Struckmeier

Shawn Struckmeier is the Executive Pastor of Creative Arts, where he oversees the Creative Arts Ministry at Abundant Life Church.


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