- Be present with others
- Share your life with others
- Be changed by others
Loving others—part 2 of the great commandment to “love God and love others.” They can’t be effectively separated: If you’re actually loving God, you will be loving others too. What does loving others look like in real life? Surely it means something deeper than liking everyone or being huggy and affectionate? It can look like the teacher who is hard on her students to bring them to a greater level of excellence. It can look like the shelter volunteer who looks at her clients not with pity but with respect as people made in the image of God. It can look like a listening ear, a word of encouragement, or a necessary challenge. Essentially, it looks like real relationships with other people.
What are the core elements that make up “loving others”? It starts with showing up. We need to be genuinely present with others. We need to show up and we need to pay attention… not being distracted or thinking about the next thing we have to do. We also need to recognize that relationship is not a one-way street. It’s not us listening to and loving others. We need to open our lives to hem as well. This is harder than it sounds because, as we get to know people better and the relationship deepens, it will require trust and real, relational investment on our part. We’ll need to authentically share our needs, hopes, and failings. We’re not doing a service project—we’re giving of our lives: “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” (I Thess. 2:8) As we engage in real life relationships with others, both giving and receiving, we will be changed. Just as we impact others, others will impact us—and that’s a good thing.
Check out our three week study on loving others here.