When I think of the people who make me feel most loved, I also realize they make me feel special. And I don’t just feel special, they don’t just throw me in an endorphin frenzy. Such people actually make me believe I have something worthwhile to contribute to the world and frankly that I’m (kind of) awesome. I leave their presence feeling empowered. And really liking them, too.
I’ve been pondering what it means for me to love the way I was intentionally created to. I guarantee it resembles Jesus, I guarantee I’m lightyears away from living out my unique way to love as was intended. But still, I am curious. And I’m asking myself the question “How can I love people better?” A question I think has become more theoretical than applicable, if we ever even get around to asking ourselves.
It’s a quick slip into the superficial actions as a Christian. To love by letting ourselves mindlessly settle by performing the “right things.” You hug strangers in the church lobby, tell everyone you’re praying for them and that they’re amazing.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with these things. But honestly, acting as a baseline for a Christian culture thumbs-up of an acceptable standard is shallow in terms of how loving others is supposed to be. And I don’t know about you but I can smell a flippant compliment from a lengthy distance away.
Please don’t discern my words as a call to condemnation, rather an invitation. One that ushers you into asking yourself the question, “How can I love people better?”
Jesus tells us to love our ENEMIES. Though it seems like Sunday School 101 if we remember that our “enemies” are synonymous to our “haters”, “people on our last nerve” and the “people who do harm” we are faced with the challenge this command holds. He also tells us to love people who are different than us. Who may or may not share a similar skin tone, but more so hold different beliefs (gasp!), social status and life goals.
Tonight as I ask myself “How can I love people better?” I return back to the notion of reminding others of their worth. It’s remembering that God created the person I am speaking with on purpose with purpose. It’s being present enough to discern if the mode of speaking or showing is most effective in making someone know how special they are. It’s asking God for His eyes to see the goodness in someone when I can’t find it myself.
I don’t want people to walk away from me thinking about how awesome I am, but how special they are and how great God is. This is how I feel called to love.
You were made to love like you and I was made to love like me, so maybe your response to the question will be different. What I do know is by simply asking and being willing to lean into this invitation and challenge you are moving the Kingdom of God forward.