Things you would probably never say out loud:
“No, I won’t pray for you.”
“You’re a stranger, and I’d like it to stay that way.”
“I do not want to get to know you better.”
“You’re probably just lazy, and I don’t think you deserve to be helped.”
“You’re not my problem.”
“This conversation is taking way too long, and I want to go do my stuff now.”
But we do find ourselves thinking them, don’t we?
If not thinking them—we definitely do them subconsciously. I sometimes find myself sinking into a rut of pretending to love people, rather than actually loving them. Love is difficult. It usually costs you something. It’s anti-lazy, anti-selfishness. I think this is why God is described as love. Not that He has love or gives love, but that He IS love. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is patient and kind, it doesn’t envy or boast, it’s not proud or rude or self-seeking. It doesn’t easily anger, and it keeps no record of wrongs.
Romans 12 also tells us, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
This week’s assignment is a little more practical than most! From the article we read, here are your challenges for this week! Try to get at least 3 done this week (bonus points if it’s the most challenging ones for you!)
Have a conversation with a stranger, with the same tenderness you would a friend. Romans 15:7, Romans 12:10
Meet a need of someone not in your immediate family. Acts 2:44-47
Have a conversation with someone who is different from you. James 2:9
Invite someone over to your house for a meal. Romans 12:13
Allow people to take off their masks. Galatians 6:2
(This one is tougher to be practical, but I think you’ll know when you do it. REALLY listen to someone, and bear their burdens, with a spirit of gentleness)
Pray for someone, out loud, in the moment. 1 Thessalonians 5:25
Spend a day consciously smiling at strangers. Be the first to say hi.