“In the world of pain there is a need for love, a real, real need for love… Love your brother… a need of love, a need of heart.” These words, translated from the famous song by the Colombian singer Juanes, paint a picture of humanity’s universal need for love.1 “Everybody needs love” rang out another song from the sixties.2 And with the countless social conflicts, outbreaks of violence, cries of outrage, the scourge of the pandemic, along with the “viruses” of selfishness, self-centeredness, and self-service and other diseases of our times, what we need most is love.
Love that becomes real by actions, love that gives a hand, that is friendly and kind, that walks in another’s shoes and finds a way to help whenever it can. “A real, real need for love” to be shown by acts of kindness toward those who cross our path in the course of the day, or in the virtual communications that have become our new normal in the age of COVID-19.
I sincerely believe that if we all made even a little effort to be courteous, to give words of encouragement, to show social graces, to make contributions, the world’s “climate” would improve, and we would all breathe a little easier. If we would try not to be critical of people, but to see their worth regardless of social condition, appearance, or any other prejudice we may be tempted with—there would be fewer violent reactions and more dialogue, more forgiveness.
My friend Margaret was telling me about the serious, cranky man who works where she has a rented parking spot. One morning she was trying to operate her remote control to gain access to the parking lot, but she just couldn’t get it to open the gate. When Margaret asked the parking attendant for help, she received the curt reply: “Lady, you aren’t using the control right.”
In the end, Margaret learned how to use the remote control, but she kept thinking about the attitude of the parking attendant. Why did he act the way he did? Did he feel humiliated in front of the people who rented in the building? Had he received unkind treatment? What could it be?
Then she remembered the saying “A little bit of love goes a long way.” She decided to take positive action: learn the attendant’s name and always greet him kindly.
“Good morning, Mr. Liborio. How are you?”
If she saw something positive that she could comment on, she would mention it. “Oh, you got a new haircut; it looks really good on you.”
Through little gestures, she let him know that she was considerate of him as a person. Months passed, and Mr. Liborio began to change. Now he is softer and kinder, greets her warmly when she arrives, and even likes to crack jokes with her.
“When a person can joke with you, it is a sign of confidence,” Margaret says.
I propose a Love Campaign to the tune of the song by Juanes and the many other musical artists who motivate us with the message in their music and lyrics. Let’s be kinder, gentler, and more humble with those around us. To think we are better than others is just plain arrogance, as the apostle Paul put it—we should esteem others more than ourselves.3
Along with Margaret, I genuinely believe that each dose of kindness, courtesy, and respect we share with others will go a long, long way toward recouping the love that has been lost among us. Everywhere, wherever we go, let’s bring to life these lyrics of Juanes, “It’s time to change in the thoughts of all, hate for love. It’s time to change.”4
By showing people love, we show them Jesus, who can then work in their lives and motivate them to join us in our love campaign. Together we can help to change this cold, insensitive world into a warmer, more loving place, a little more like heaven.