Love is not only made of words and feelings, it is practical.
The art of loving and being able to make an impact comes from understanding that love involves action, and it is inclusive. We see this with God’s love:
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.John 3:16 MSG
Showing God’s love in practical ways and to the world, to everyone, can be hard. We all have people in our lives who we struggle to love or like. Some people, we think, are not deserving of our love or God’s love. Yet, everyone needs a chance to have a whole and lasting life—one that begins now and lasts for eternity.
Sometimes we need a perspective shift to help us be more loving.
One way that can help us understand inclusive love is to eliminate the lines and labels that we create that make us exclude or discriminate. We talk about introverts and extroverts, black and white, Christians and non-Christians… In these ways, we draw lines around ourselves and others.
Instead, the art of loving is seeing those around us as just like us and worthy of love.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.Romans 3:23 NLT
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.Romans 5:8 NLT
The difference is that some of us have accepted Jesus, and others have not. Some of us have turned towards Jesus, and others have not. In this way we can see the people we work with, our neighbors, the barista in the coffee shop as just like us but needing to turn to Jesus.
Use these prayers to help you show God’s love to those around you, regardless of who they are.
God, I ask you to give me a new perspective—your perspective—on the people who are my neighbors, who I work with or go to school with, and who I interact with in the store and on the street. Help me to show them your love in practical ways. When I feel like putting up barriers and hiding behind walls, give me the strength to share your love in ways they will discover the same love which you have for me, that you have for them.
God’s love is expansive. It is for all people. How can you reflect God’s amazing, and extensive love? Think about those people in particular who you find hard to love.
Lord God, today I need to know of your love for (choose one to three groups of people you find hard to love). Help me to see them as you see them:
Pray about one way you can take the initiative in showing love to one person.
Today I pray for ________________________. I ask you to equip me so I can make a difference by _________________________________.
Who have you labeled or excluded as not worthy of God’s love, and been unloving in your actions and words?
Lord, forgive me for: _________________________________
Do you remember the first time or another time God showed his love for you in a practical way, perhaps through another person? Show your gratitude to God.
Heavenly Father, thank you for _________________________________
Did God answer your requests in Prayer 2? Write down your answers in this prayer.
God, I asked you to help me see your love for people. Now help me make a difference by showing your love in practical ways. (Write down how will you follow through.)
Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash