Eight months ago a dear friend of mine was in an accident. She fought valiantly for her life for many months. Unfortunately, on January 30th, my friend left this place. While her loss has brought deep sadness for me personally, and for her family, the experience has caused me to think of several things. Sherrie has five children. The youngest, Zach, is one of my son Marshall’s best friends. Zach and Marshall have been playing soccer together and simply doing life together since they were four years old. Over the years we have come to love the Labrum family, and I have especially come to love Sherrie. Because I was also her personal trainer for the last nine years, our paths crossed often each week.
When someone you love passes away, it begins a process for the people left here on earth. You remember how much that person meant to you and you remember all the things you loved about that person. As we sat at the funeral we listened to every one of her children speak so highly of Sherrie. Overlapping themes emerged as they shared about their mother, but each one also seemed to know her in their own unique way. I think it was one of the sweetest funerals I have ever experienced. One thing in particular struck me. Sherrie’s older son described her this way…
“She isn’t trying to be kind. She is kind. She isn’t trying to be non-judgmental and love unconditionally. She really isn’t judgmental and does, in fact, love her friends and family as she said she did. She is genuinely good, and as a result, her efforts to be good seemed pretty natural.”
Many kind things were said about my friend Sherrie that day, but for some reason those words stuck with me. Would people say that about me, I wondered? Would they say that I wasn’t trying to be kind, I just was kind? Would they say that I tried to love unconditionally, or that I loved unconditionally? Time to reflect on these questions in the last few weeks has taken me on a personal accountability journey with God.
I believe that when we come into a relationship with Jesus Christ our life doesn’t become about us anymore. It becomes about reflecting Jesus Christ. It becomes about loving others unconditionally, with genuine kindness, and without judgment. As I left the funeral I felt spurred on to be a better person. Not that I can accomplish that in my own strength, I can’t. But through the power of Jesus Christ I can choose transformation daily. I pray that for myself, and for you as well.
What do you need to do in your life to start loving others unconditionally? What do you need to do to be kinder to others? I pray that you will take some time with God in the next few days and ask Him to reveal places of your heart that need to be turned over to Him. May every day be better than the one before.
I will miss you my friend and I am forever grateful that I was blessed to do this life with you!