I’ve eaten some weird stuff over the course of my life. I’ve also declined to eat perfectly normal things because they just don’t suit my palate. (Some of you who know me well are already thinking of my aversion to melted cheese.)
When I was a kid, I didn’t like ham. Lunch meat, honey-baked, whatever. No ham. (I’ve since been cured – ha!) Puns aside, it was a terrible day when I realized I was going to have to eat ham at my new school.
I was twelve, my family had moved to France, and I was attending a French school where I didn’t understand anyone. At lunch time, we sat around circular tables, eight students to a table. Dishes were brought to us, with a serving for each student on the dishes. We passed the dishes to each other and were required to finish everything on the table.
You can imagine I was less than thrilled when I discovered we would need to eat a large slice of ham. And you can imagine I was more than thrilled when another girl at my table offered – through motions and gestures we could both understand – to eat half of my ham for me. I was sure I could manage the other half by smothering it in mashed potatoes.
For the next several months, we continued to have ham on a regular basis. And my new friend Céline continued to eat half of mine.
It wasn’t until the very end of the year that I found out.
Céline didn’t like ham either.
Céline wasn’t a Christian. But she demonstrated Christ-like love better than most of us. Her love was self-sacrificing. It was ongoing and consistent. It couldn’t possibly have been based on anything I had done for her – I was brand new to the school!
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13, ESV
“In humility, count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:3-8, ESV, emphasis added
This Valentine’s Day, no matter what your relationship status, find a way to love like Jesus.
Instead of holding a grudge against your husband for his lack of romance, forgive him and lavish him with love. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and “singles awareness,” volunteer to serve dinner at a homeless shelter or to babysit for a couple who otherwise couldn’t afford to go out for Valentine’s Day. Instead of ranting about the commercialism of Valentine’s Day or any other evil in our society, go out of your way to make someone smile.
Love others with such joy that they’ll never find out you don’t like ham.
Because that’s how Jesus loves you.
How has someone shown Christ-like love to you? Leave a comment below!
Know someone who would be encouraged by this? Please share!
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