Love one another as I have loved you. ; (John 15:12 NKJV) ; ; Chapter One ;The Imprint of a Christian ; ;We had just finished a wonderful conference for women. After autographing books at our table, we decided to go out for a relaxing dinner. As Kathy was cutting her burnt steak (that's how she orders it) she glanced at me sideways, smiling: ; ;"You got a little weird with that lady." ;"I did not!" ;We laughed, as my immediate denial revealed I knew which woman she meant. I changed tactics from denial to defense. ;"I thought I was nice . . . Wasn't I nice?" ;"No, you weren't. It was a fake nice. You got that funny kind of I'm a caring Christian woman speaker plastic smile on your face." ;I hit her with my napkin. "I did not!" ;"You did too, Dee. You had that glazed-over look in your eyes as that poor lady was just trying to get a little attention. Some people just need to talk." ;"Well, but . . ." ;"Dee, you closed down. You know you did." ;"Kath. There were a zillion people behind her . . ." ;"I know, Dee, but she just needed to share her heart a little." ;I paused, finally acknowledging the painful truth. "I hear you . . . I really do." ;Let's Get Real ;When we're really honest with ourselves we have to admit that there are often times when we fail to love, when we fail to care about those around us: ; ;the weary waitress ;the coworker grieving the loss of a marriage ;the believer who has failed dramatically ;the "trying" relative that you see every Christmas ; ;Often our lives lack the passion and vibrancy of a life surrendered to God. We want to be women who love well, but our cups do not overflow with God's love. We want to walk in the light, but we find ourselves moving into the shadows. Like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, when she was losing her power, our lights are dim and our colors are faded. We become dull, like an empty midnight sky. We are no longer stars that glitter in a dark universe. We lack beauty, luster, and life. ;As in the story Jesus told of the Good Samaritan, we step over the needy or wounded, preoccupied with our own agenda. Likewise, it is in our very nature to size people up by the way they look, by the way they dress, by the way they talk, and even by how much money they have. ;We are easily offended. And when we are genuinely wronged, we often have trouble letting it go. Unwilling to forgive, unwilling to let our wounds heal, we peer over a wall of offenses compiled, holding our weapons of anger and self-righteousness. ;We love those who are easy to love, and we like it even more when they love us back. But Jesus asked, ;What credit is that to you? Even tax-collectors do that! And if you exchange greetings only with your own circle, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do that much. (Matthew 5:46-47 Phillips) ; ;We are preoccupied with thoughts about how we look, what others are thinking about us, what we're planning to eat, or watch, or do . . . It's all about us. ;Let's face it. The old hymn writers dared to call us "wretches" or even "worms"-and though those terms may be politically incorrect, when we get real, we have to confess that they hit the mark. In the midst of a philosophical discussion a young woman reminded Winston CBrestin, Dee is the author of 'Living in Love With Jesus Clothed in the Colors of His Love' with ISBN 9780849944635 and ISBN 0849944635.