One question I am humbled by: Would others know I am a Christian if I did not tell them so? Think of how we act around others, at the grocery store, in traffic, or even in our own homes. Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “…love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples–when they see the love you have for each other.”
A few weeks ago I was visiting my grandparents who have been married for 67 years. While my grandfather was talking, my grandmother quietly reached for a tissue and handed it to him. He took the tissue without missing a beat and gently wiped his nose while continuing to tell his story. I watched this seemingly unimportant interaction with amazement. How did she know he needed a tissue? He hadn’t sniffled or sneezed, but somehow she knew. Others may not have even noticed such a small thing as handing a tissue to someone else, but this act of love touched me deeply.
What Does This Mean?
I believe that this is how we should be toward others. Noticing the details and acting upon them no matter how small they seem. I have been listening to an audio book, Listen Love Repeat by Karen Ehman and participating in Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study. The book has a simple concept: Listen (be alert while listening to others paying attention to their interests, likes, needs….), Love (acts of love toward them whether by gift giving, support, or thoughtfulness), and Repeat with whomever you will. How many times do we have conversations with others around us that we do not engage in? I’m definitely guilty of this.
I am challenged and inspired by watching others love each other. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Several Easter’s ago, I went to dinner at a restaurant with my mother after our church service. After the meal, we walked to the front of the restaurant to pay the cashier. My mother completed the transaction then walked away to visit with someone she knew. The cashier at the counter then turned to a peer and said, “that is one of the nicest people you will ever meet!” I was touched. I do not know how she knew my mother, but mom’s love for other’s was evident enough that it made mark on her heart. That is exactly what Jesus’ love does for us, it changes us and makes a mark on us so we can share His love with one another.
Love Is A Choice
It seems that we live in a world that is full of bitterness, jealously, and hatred toward one another. But all of those things lead to misery, depression, and anger. If we choose to love, regardless of what others have done to us, we are free. I love the way Matthew 11:30 explains this in The Message version of the bible, ” Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
What a relief it is when we choose to love. I am challenged by this daily as I get irritated, impatient, or others push my buttons. But I choose to keep trying. To re-focus when I lose it, and to humble myself knowing that Jesus loves me even though I don’t deserve it. I choose to love others, even though they may not deserve it either.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving me. Forgive me for not showing your love as I should. Holy Spirit, help me and humble me as I encounter others today to show your grace and love. I pray that others see Jesus in me, for your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.