In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus commands me to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. He also commands me to care for my neighbor as I do for myself. To love your neighbor is not a new idea. Many Old and New Testament verses contain specific examples of God’s concern for mankind. Verses such as John 3:16 show how the Heavenly Father extends unconditional love to all people—past, present, and future—by giving the Gift of His Son.
When Jesus came into my heart and life, I begin to understand agape and try to distribute it to others in times of emergency. Reading, reflecting, and writing from Scripture helps me learn to show compassion for humanity. Am I perfect in showing love to others? No. I fall far short, but I am willing to offer charity and to act with sensitivity on behalf of others.
To show sympathy, kind-heartedness, and good will to another, I strive to remember he/she represents every human being on Planet Earth. I cannot hand-pick the individuals I serve. None will be duplicates of my personality. Some may not like me nor submit to my charitable service. I may feel that I should qualify, quantify, or purify this person before I offer to meet a specific need. Like the Good Samaritan, I do desire to offer care. If my gift is rejected, I plan to remain patient and available. Another may accept my offer on a different date.
By what means can I share love and give help to another? What steps can you take to more effectively love your neighbor? Below are ten gentle actions to offer a friend in times of need. I can:
• Pray specific prayers. If he/she does not have a job, pray for one. When ill, offer to pray for healing, privately or together if the individual prefers.
• Take an interest in his/her life, visit, and engage in conversations in an attempt to become better acquainted.
• Show support and availability without being intrusive.
• Offer physical help. If family members are ill, offer to make meals or drive the children to school.
• Listen without interruption. Let the speaker share at a comfortable pace and depth.
• Show sympathy without overwhelming the mourner.
• Offer a shoulder to cry on when grief is unbearable. Find other manners to give comfort.
• Allow space and alone time without judgement.
• Give hugs. Physical touch can be healing but let the mourner lead. Some want hugs more than others.
• imply be there as a friend.
This list I created is for the purpose of showing love to my neighbors. With continued reading and meditation of Scripture, I hope to learn to love my neighbors in ways which will be pleasing to them and to the Savior.