“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18
Love is a common topic lately, and especially, today. If you search google for “love” you can, in less than a minute, get 7, 480,000,000 results. If you narrow it down to the last week you can get 3,800 page suggestions for love, including songs, quotes, “how to” guides, pictures of people in love, and personal stories. Our world longs to experience true, deep and meaningful love.
But the difficult part comes when we decide that instead of just talking about love and dreaming about love, that we will actually go ahead and show love to our hurting world. Loving people is messy and difficult and heartbreaking most of the time, and, yet, we are called to do just that and to not give up. We are called to love people as a community, to encourage each other, and to do it so that other people will know that God is alive and His Kingdom is reigning on earth.
Love is messy and heartbreaking when a group decides, with love, to get involved in the life of a refugee family, but, due to many factors, experiences and influences, both past and present, the family rejects them and tells them not to come back.
Love is messy when you are building relationships with those with addictions, mental issues and life difficulties so different from our own. We want our love to make a quick difference and a big impact, but, instead, many times it is one step forward and two steps back.
Love involves stepping into their shoes and understanding their situations and showing compassion, not just once, but 70 times 7 times. Love means not giving up because God’s love doesn’t give up.
Love is difficult when your child makes choices that aren’t in line with all the things that you have taught them over the years. Love is difficult when the distance widens between you and your spouse.
Love involves trusting in God, praying for his direction, sacrificing our own desires and serving those who don’t always appreciate it.
Love comes into focus and carries us one day further when:
- a sweet little 8 year-old girl formerly from a refugee camp in Tanzania, but now completely Canadian runs and jumps into your arms every time that she sees you.
- that same girl’s father shares his excitement about progressing to level 6 in English.
- a very sick man’s eyes light up with excitement and gratitude when you go to see him in the hospital.
- you have to juggle volunteers who are all eager to serve meals to people in need.
- a friend comes to our door to celebrate 28 days of sobriety and asks for prayers to get through the next two days before he can get to a sober living house.
- you see two of your friends spending weeks in the hospital with their son while he receives a new pacemaker.
- you have another friend looking after daughters of the family in the hospital.
- you have a meal plan fill up in an hour with people clamoring to bring meals to a family in need.
- you bring your mother, with Alzheimer’s, to a knitting group and everyone loves you and helps you and you can relax.
There are many ways to show love, but the important part is to do something, don’t just talk but LOVE WITH ACTION and in truth! If you are looking for tangible, messy ways to show love to someone, don’t hesitate to jump in and get involved. Pray about it and let God show you where you need to make sacrifices, talk to a friend and do ministry together; jump into something already happening and share your experiences with others.
He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 22:16
PS – To make love less messy and easier to do, there are lots of resources to help you do it better. The staff is reading a book now called, “How to Help Without Hurting.” This is one of many great resources.