A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34 NIV
Love is more than sentiment. At its best, it’s an action verb. Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages lists ways of showing love: affirming, touching, giving, serving, and spending time with the beloved. One can love without all the fuzzy emotions we sometimes equate with romantic love by simply doing those things that build up that other person and letting him or her know that he or she is special, is cared for, is thought about.
Cheerleading, forming your own one-person fan club, is a potent way of demonstrating love. Think of all the ways we can build each other up (I Thess. 5:11) once we get out of ourselves. And think of all the people who desperately need love. We can praise, compliment, encourage, pray with and for, be available, do random acts of kindness, demonstrate thoughtfulness, and on and on.
But we have to move beyond our intense concern for ourselves. I’ve discovered that the more I become aware and sensitive to the needs of others, the more obscure my own issues become. The more I embrace others, the more joy and freedom I experience in my own life. The more transparent I become in loving others, the more reciprocal the relationship becomes. And healing can even take place when love flows.
Think of the transformations in which we might participate if we chose to forget about ourselves and become more interconnected to others. Of all the unfortunate people imaginable, Job tops the list. Having lost everything (but his critical wife) and being surrounded by unfeeling friends who only compounded his misery, we’re told that after Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes (Job 42:10) … When Job moved beyond his own suffering to see the vacuum in his friends, he was able to pray, and God responded by working in Job’s life.
William Carey, the “father” of modern missions (18th Century) faithfully worked, carrying the Gospel to India and translating the Bible into many Indian dialects. Many people know of Carey, but few know of his sister who was bedridden and unable to use her limbs for about 52 years. Every day, Carey’s sister prayed for him and maintained a vibrant correspondence by writing with a pencil in her mouth. Such was her love for her brother.
Who can we actively love today? How can we sacrificially give our time to affirm someone? How can we, through God’s love, leave our own cares and be cheerleaders for someone else? The biggest cost is our own self-interest, but that begins to diminish as we get into the big world of GOD’S LOVE. Find somebody to love.
Father, show me who needs my love and give me creative ideas for encouraging, affirming, building up, and healing. I want to be your cheerleader. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.