Day thirteen - Love

A heart traced out by sparklers in bright pink. Jamie Street

He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

Matthew 22:37-39

What does love look like? Some people find it hard to say “I love you!” but it can also be too easy to say the words without really knowing what they mean. Perhaps they just mean a nice warm feeling inside? Real love – for God or others – is visible in what we do and how we live. How is your love visible to others?

Faith is good for mental health. It brings lots of things that research has shown to be important – relationships, social networks, and lifestyle amongst others – but faith is not primarily about what I can get out of it. The really important reasons for believing are summed up by Jesus in just two commandments – loving God, and loving those around us. These are not so much commandments (things we must do, because we are told to) as principles for getting to the heart of what really matters most. They are the basis of human flourishing – in body, mind and spirit. Love is good for mental wellbeing. God is love.

A “Have a Go” habit: Learning and giving

  • The 5 steps to mental wellbeing have a lot to do with love: Connect, Be Active, Keep learning, Give to others, Be mindful. Which of these do you need to take a look at?
  • Take some time today to learn more about someone you love: whether it is God or a neighbour, or perhaps the work of a charity expressing love in practical ways.
  • Psalm 107:8 “thank the Lord for his steadfast love”. Can you give thanks today for God’s love and then pass it on in giving to others? Love looks like something…maybe like giving a kind word or two, or an offering of help?

The #FaithAndMentalHealth reflections were written by Rev Prof Chris Cook. Ruth Rice developed the "Have a go" habits.

Bible readings are taken from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved