Hello friends! I hope you’ve enjoyed the blogs this February on loving others when it's not easy. Sometimes it can be difficult to love even the people right in front of us. I am excited for my friend Ché Gardner to be a guest on my blog this week and share with us how we can love others more intentionally. I hope you enjoy! -Sharie King
Ever read something that changed your life forever? Bored in study hall one day, I had no idea what was about to happen to me. I picked up a book, turned a few pages, saw the truth within, and tears began to stream down my face as I saw words that would change me forever. As I let the truth of the words sink into my soul, they sank further and further.
These words would change my entire perspective of loving others; I want to share them with you, and I hope you see them the way I saw them, these words you are about to see.
“I see Jesus in every human being.” –Mother Teresa
You know how the Words of Jesus are described as a double-edged sword that pierces the soul and discerns the heart, separating bone from marrow? Well, that describes the way these words literally pierced my heart.
As I read these words, the images of people’s faces that I had hurt began to roll across the screen of my mind like credits at the end of a film. Moments that I had mistreated friends and family with unkind words, and the times I had passed people on the street without so much as glancing at them. All the days I was too busy to listen to a stranger’s story, and on and on and on.
A teary-eyed, high school me was so brokenhearted at the reality that I genuinely did not love others well at all!
This is how it happened to me.
I wasn’t the same to everyone. I chose the people I wanted to love and when I would love them. I would love them at this church outreach and that food drive. I would love them on a mission trip. I would love them at youth group. But, when I was in a hurry at the grocery store or late for basketball practice, I was not equally loving to those people. The reality of all the times I failed to love “every human being” as if they were Jesus rocked me to my core. Mind blown. No, seriously.
I have not mastered “how to love” others. But, I am committed to never giving up. I will tell you that when you start to SEE every person as valuable as Jesus Himself, you will see people in a brand new way, and never be the same.
So here are 5 ways to practically love others:
Choose to see Jesus in people.
It’s as hard as it sounds. I cannot tell you how frustrated I get when I hear someone, who loves Jesus, say something like, “I just don’t like them.” Who do they think they are? Who gets to not love Jesus, but claim to love Jesus? Ask Jesus to give you his eyes. He is in the business of making the blind see, so keep asking Him until your eyesight changes, until you truly see Jesus in every person.
Love others with no agenda.
No one will feel loved if they sense a hidden agenda. I have traveled to many cultures, made another country home for a couple years, have seen many walks of life, and have engaged people polar opposite to myself. One thing all people have in common is the need to be and feel loved and valued. Remember, there is no “mere person;” everyone you encounter today is a chance to love Jesus.
SMILE at people.
This may sound ridiculous, but remember you’re smiling at Jesus. You’d be surprised, (and we all fail at this) but if you make it your intention to smile, I think you will find your feelings catching up to the intention of your heart to love others.
Use eye contact.
Looking someone in the eye acknowledges their being and immediately brings value. Again, it sounds crazy, but so many people don’t look up from a task when someone enters a room or looks across an aisle at the grocery store. Eye contact is simple, but it is an impactful way to show love to others.
My hubby always says that everyone enjoys talking about themselves. This is so true. Ask some questions that will lead you into a better understanding of who that person is. They want to be known, just like you do. It can be as simple as complimenting someone’s outfit and asking where it’s from. I am definitely becoming bolder in asking, “How can I pray for you?” at the end of conversations. It’s still a work in progress, but I challenge you to try it, too.
The full quote of Mother Teresa went on to say, “I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”
This is hurting Jesus? This is sick Jesus? Are you seeing it?
We need to open our eyes to the hurting and hopeless around us. The time has come to go and help hurting Jesus, refugee Jesus, homeless Jesus, soon to be aborted Jesus, starving Jesus, lonely Jesus, and sick Jesus.
“‘For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”
Jesus, please give us eyes to see others how you see them. Help us to see You in them.
About the Author
Ché Gardner is a follower of Jesus, a wife to an amazing hubby, and a mommy to two adorable kiddos. Her joys in life are seeing others find healing in Jesus, crawling around on the floor with her kiddos, and dinner dates with her hubby. Engaging others with the Gospel, loving people that are different from her, and spending time mentoring younger girls bring happiness to her days.
Ché served overseas for two years in South Asia, worked at Liberty University for three years leading students on international trips, and is currently loving the interns at the Crossroads Discipleship House, through Clayton King Ministries, in Anderson, SC.
Friends, February's blog theme has been #LoveDifferently. So, today through Saturday I'm running a giveaway! The winner will win these two necklaces by 4th + Lulu. One will be for you, and the other for "an everyday person" you want to show a little love and kindness to.
To enter, answer this question in the comment section below:If you win these two necklaces, who do you plan to #LoveDifferently by giving them this necklace as a gift...and how will you show them love?
I will announce the winner Saturday morning. Make sure to follow the talented @4th_and_lulu on Instagram! Good luck!