“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
I keep thinking about this quote I read somewhere, “People who meet you should meet Jesus.”
I have been reading The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp and, as always, she has a way with her words that reaches the strings of my heart. I have been thinking about the brokenness of this world; but even more so, I have been thinking about my own brokenness. Why is it so easy to put up walls to cover my heart and my weaknesses? Why is it so hard to give away all of my heart — especially the broken pieces, the parts that are not beautiful?
But this is the truth that I am standing on: that Jesus has met me in my need, and He has met me in my weakness and brokenness. This is real love — that while I was still in sin, He loved me and sent His Son to die for my sins. This is real love — that at my worst, He has loved me the most.
Why Should We Love Our Neighbors?
My friend, our hearts are so wicked. Even on the best days, there is so much darkness lingering in the corners of our hearts. I know it is so for my heart, at least. But even in our deepest darkness, in our greatest sinfulness and shame — God has loved with a love that is beyond understanding. Knowing all that we are and all that we have been, He sees us as His beloved children. Seeing all that we are and all that we can be, He sent His Son to die for our sins so that we can be washed clean, once and for all.
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:10-12 NLT)
I love the way that the NLT words verse 12: His love is brought to full expression in us when we love each other.
C.S. Lewis writes, “The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.”
When we love each other, His love is brought to full expression in us. In all of our imperfections, His love is fully expressed in us when we reach out to love our people, to love those around us. In all our brokenness and weakness, we get to become the hands of His love. Because of this, we should not wait for our heart to feel that desire to love those around us, to give them our time, money or efforts.
All of these ways listed here are ways to be a light of grace to the dark world around us. All of these ways require a brokenness from us, this sacrifice of what we easily think we do not have — and yet the words of Jesus echo loud in my soul, that it is more blessed to give than to receive. All of these here, they take only a few hours of your time. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that we all have a few hours to give each month — if not each week. Let the love of Jesus be loud in your actions.
20 Practical Ways to Love Your Neighbor.
- Smile at a stranger.
- Invite someone over for a cup of coffee or tea.
- Invite someone over for a dinner.
- Mail a card or a letter to a friend to let them know you are thinking about them and praying for them.
- Text a Bible verse to a friend to encourage them and to let them know they are loved.
- Prepare and drop off a meal for a family you know is busy or going through a difficult time.
- Walk your neighbor’s dog.
- Reach out to a neighbor and invite them over to your place.
- Babysit for friends so that they can have a night off.
- Know someone who is single? Invite them to join your family for an evening.
- Know someone who is grieving? Sit with them. Let them know you are there for them, whether they want to talk or not.
- Help out a friend who is moving.
- Reach out to a friend to encourage them and pray for them.
- Compliment someone — a stranger, a friend, a family member. Preferably not about their outward appearance.
- When you know someone is going through a hard time, pray for them — in the moment or then call them so that they can hear the prayers too. Or write down your prayers and mail them to that friend.
- Forgive that one person. Or if you are not there yet, pray for a forgiving heart for yourself.
- Call a family member or a friend just to talk with them about whatever.
- Reach out to an elderly person and give them your time.
- Give to a charity or a ministry — your money, your time, your prayers.
- Pay for a stranger’s coffee at a coffee shop.
Are there any other ways to love your neighbor that you love to do? Give me a suggestion in the comments below!