Yesterday I wrote on something that I have seen happening in our culture in that we are a 15 minute society and this has also caused us to love and care for those around us in a 15 minute fashion. We are quick to move on to the next, best thing around us and I am worried that this has also affected how we love others. Having walked through times of trial and sorrow over the past few years in our family, I wanted to offer a few thoughts on how we can love one another as Jesus calls His disciples to do in a way that shows we care about them. I’ve had some great opportunities to walk alongside people in their times of trial and trouble, and my wife and I have practiced these things in how we love others.
When you offer to do something, follow through.
When you offer to do something for someone when they are going through a difficult time and don’t follow through on their commitment it can show and feel like you really don’t care. I think this is the quickest way to show someone that you only care in a 15 minute fashion because it is so easy to say, “How can I help?” or “I’m going to share this book with you that helped me.” or “Can we bring you a meal?” and not follow through on it. Truly loving someone is asking these questions and then doing it time and time again. When we simply ask out of lip-service but don’t follow through on our ask people notice these things and it can hurt.
Continue to ask how someone is doing, especially many months later.
One of the things that has continued to be the most meaningful to me over 2 years since my dad died was friends have continued to ask how we are doing even years later. That means a lot. It has helped me to know people are still thinking and praying about us. Continue to ask people how they are doing, especially many months or even years later. Don’t be too intrusive in your questioning, but allow them an opportunity to tell you how they are really doing. If you ask be prepared to hear how they are really doing, and be ready to love them in response.
Help them with whatever you think you’d want help with while going through a difficult time.
When we help people we show them that we are willing to walk alongside of them in love. After we lost our twin daughters our Community Group and the meals team through our church prepared us meals for an entire month. I declined this at first as I said, “We don’t need it. Please give it to someone that really needs it.” You know what? We needed it. Badly. Not having to think about meals for a month showed us how much people cared about us in allowing us to come home, eat a hot meal prepared by someone else and just focus on one another. This was huge.
It is important that if we want to care for people in a way that shows them we truly do care and love them we must go above and beyond at times. I think it is helpful to just think what we would need/want help with if we were ever to go through what they are dealing with. Now this is hard sometimes to completely put the other person’s shoes on, but when you think about this, it’s not hard to come up with a few things fast. Watch their kids for a few hours so they can have some time together, have them over for a dinner to just hang out, ask out for coffee to just listen, mow, shovel, clean their family room, clean their basement, whatever! Just be willing to help with whatever they ask or you should ask them as they probably will never ask. And it will mean so much if you ask and service them out of love.
Be willing to help people. Be willing to love people. That’s what it really comes down to. These are just a few ways of the many I’m sure we could come up with. If you truly love one another, we should be willing to go above and beyond days, months and possibly even years after times of trouble and tragedy in those around us. Let’s go above the 15 minute culture around us to love others.