Today I’d like to discuss the importance of the will to love. Not the will to live but the will to love. George Saunders, a famous essayist, was invited to give a graduation speech at Syracuse University. In his remarks he said millions of these kinds of speeches have been given. He said usually an “old guy” like him imparts wisdom, life’s lessons, and tells the graduates that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to. It’s good to hear these things, but he said the best question to ask an old guy is: “What is your greatest regret in life?”
He first shared what he doesn’t regret, which is every horrible job he had or every time he was poor and did not have food to eat. That builds character. He then shared his regrets: The times in life when he failed to be kind. He told a story about a girl from his seventh-grade class. She was a wallflower, somewhat awkward, and had no friends. In addition to being teased, she was bullied. She moved away one day and he never saw her again. He didn’t pick on her or call her names, yet he regretted not going out of his way to say something nice to her, become her friend, or ask her how she’s doing.
Friend, perhaps you have regrets like this too, where you failed to extend the love of God to someone in need. Not that it was an intentional disregard, but you realize others could have used your help. We can always make time to give a hug, a kind and encouraging word, or just sit with someone and put our arms around them. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can exercise our will to love others.