The People We Know
All of us have people in our lives that we’re close to. It may seem easy to love the people we know well, but in reality, sometimes it isn’t. Loving our neighbors means we love them on the easy days and on the hard days. We applaud their successes and comfort them when they fail.
Here are some practical ways that we can love the people we’re close to:
Lighten their load. When we know someone well, we know when things are going well and when they’re not. When someone is facing a struggle, we can be a part of the solution. It’s easy to say things like, “Let me know if you need anything”, but truthfully, most people won’t. You might phrase your assistance like this: “I’m bringing dinner over to your family tonight. What time works?”
Extend grace. One of the most important ways we can love our neighbors is to make allowances for their shortcomings. Choosing to extend grace means we forgive those who offend us. After all, God has forgiven each of us so much, it’s unwise to justify our unforgiveness toward others. Through the process of forgiving others, we’ll be free from harboring bitterness.
Build others up. With our words and actions, we do one of two things—build up or tear down. Our world isn’t always a friendly one, so let’s be bringers of good news to the people in our lives. We never know how our kind word or act will change someone’s day—and potentially their future.
For the people we know, we can find numerous ways to show them love. Perhaps we run an errand for someone who can’t get out, do chores around their house, or spend time truly listening and hearing them when things are difficult. Let’s learn to put others’ needs in front of our own on a more regular basis. When we do this, we are acting as Jesus did, for there is no greater love than when we set ourselves aside and do something for someone else.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:12-13 NIV
Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.Romans 15:2 NIV
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2 NIV
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.Colossians 3:13-14 NIV