We have all heard the phrase “love is a doing word”, love requires action. It is not enough to merely state that you love someone or something without backing those words with actions.
God displayed His love for us with the ultimate sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us there is no greater love than to lay your life down for others (John 15:13). The love God has for us is beyond comprehension, it is difficult to fully understand it with our human minds, but we must believe it and embrace it. God loves you more than you can ever imagine.
God has shown His love for us and He has also called us to love one another. Throughout the Bible, many times we see this call to love, encourage and pray for one another. Despite this, many of us struggle to make these commands a reality in our lives. Oftentimes, people live very isolated lives regardless of if they are physically surrounded by people or not. However, we are called to encourage others, to love them and be there for them. We are not called to live an isolated life disconnected from those around us.
A call to love is a call to be vulnerable with others, it requires you letting people see you for you as you also see them for them. It means that you must remove the façade of “everything is good” and be open with people about the challenges you may be facing. It means being open about your true personality – what makes you laugh or laugh, letting people know about your joys and fears. Allowing yourself to be you and letting others see it. Vulnerability is risk, not everyone you let in will really be for you and there is a risk that you can be hurt. But, at the same time, that risk can bring you great connection and community.
What sometimes holds people back from this call to love is a fear of rejection. The problem with this is it leads you to retreat into further isolation. And, isolation is the breeding ground for numerous issues to grow – hidden issues bring shame, guilt, and embarrassment along with it. The enemy attacks your thought life in this place with “no-one cares for me”, “I am alone” and if these thoughts aren’t put in check, it can easily escalate to “I don’t need to be on this earth since no-one needs me”. Once your thoughts go here, it is difficult to get your mind back, so it is so vital to protect your mind.
One way in which I have been able to counteract this in my life is responding to God’s call to love others. Honestly speaking, it is difficult to love others when feeling so down yourself, but I have seen the benefit of doing so and I know it is a necessity. It was my Spiritual Mother, Pastor Eva Sarpong, who truly opened my eyes to help me understand the need to see past my own feelings and love and be there for others.
Each week at church, she would encourage me to speak to new people. Many times, I realised that other people were also just wanting another person to speak to them – someone just needed to take that first step. I found that just by extending kindness and speaking to others, they felt better and I, too, felt better. Through this, I also made some wonderful friends who I would never have known if I had decided to stay in a place of isolation.
God has designed us with a desire to connect, to be accepted and to be loved. Why should we love others? If we read 1 John 4:11 (AMP)
“Beloved, if God so loved us [in this incredible way], we also ought to love one another.”
The truth remains that God loves us so much to the point that He sacrificed His only Son for us. If God has loved us this much, as the scripture says, we also ought to love one another. It is a huge error to claim to be a member of a church and not speak to anyone from that place outside of church meetings. It is an error to go through life without any connections at all.
This also extends beyond your local church; we are called to love one another outside the church too. Extend that love to your working colleagues, your family members, the stranger you see in the street. We are called to demonstrate the love of God here on earth.
I know what it feels like to be so warped and consumed by your own issues that it feels impossible to even speak to another person. But I also know the liberation and joy that comes from extending love and compassion to others, being able to help others also helps yourself. Even statistics show that those who are involved in the voluntary sector, in helping others, are shown to have reduced mental illnesses and are generally happier.
Instead of staying alone, isolated and disconnected from everyone. Try and reach out to someone today, reach out to someone you may not have heard from for a while. Be the one to take the step to connect. No one truly knows what another is going through, and that phone call could remind that person that YOU care for them. When you go out and about in town, smile and say hello to someone – that person may not have spoken to anyone all day. Today, I encourage you to respond to the call to love and, as you do, know that God will also call someone to shower you with love.