Make a difference by loving your neighbor | Enduring All Things

Friday, June 28, 2013

Make a difference by loving your neighbor

I am jumping on this link-up a little late. In fact, this week is number 14. Whoops. Not only that, but they start on Mondays so I am even almost a week late with this one. BUT it is only ever other Monday, so I am good for another week.

Anyway, the wonderful lady at Simply Free does this link up every other Monday where they answer real questions about life. As in, not "What's your favorite ____?" or "Tell me something about yourself."

So this week's question is "What does it mean to you to have made a difference in this world? What are you doing to achieve that change, and how has it been made possible?"

Pretty deep, huh?

A lot of people think that to "Make a Difference" means we have to affect a lot of people on a large scale. A few things that come to mind are, long term missions in a foreign land, holding an influential position in a firm or organization, being a public figure, and spending lots of money on charity or the 'less fortunate'. But what if you don't have a ton of money? What if you don't know somebody to get you into politics (that is how it works nowadays, right?) or TV? What if you are too young and don't have enough experience to have an influential position at work? What if you have ties here in the US keeping you from long term missions? Well then, I guess you can't make a difference, right?

YOU can make a difference. I can make a difference. Anybody can make a difference. All you have to do is LOVE others and show that love on a regular basis.
I am serious. It's that simple.

Or is it simple?

Loving everyone all the time is hard, but if you want to make a difference in this world, this is where it starts. Not to mention, Jesus commanded it. [Matthew 22:39 among others]

First of all, I found this little graphic to help get our minds on the right track.

I have compiled a list of some of my own ways to love your neighbor regardless of race, religion, past, lifestyle, and sexuality. (Disclaimer: to love someone is not the same as approving of their actions or beliefs etc. Jesus didn't discriminate based on any of the above. He loved all, but he didn't condone sin either, and we should do the same)
  • Give what you can. You know the guy that's always on the corner of that exit with the sign that says "Hungry" or something to that effect? Try to have some kind of snack or a food gift card in your car that you can give him when you see him. This isn't a bank-buster and you can rest at ease knowing he can't use money you have given for drugs or other not-so-wholesome things.
  • Give your time. So you don't have a lot of money to give to people less fortunate than you? That's OK, volunteer your time instead! Pearson and I have volunteered with a group from church at the homeless shelter in Columbus. We also do a clothing drive every October. There are plenty of other opportunities.
  • Smile. You can always smile. Even to strangers. Even when you're not in the mood. I mean how hard is it to smile and wave to people you pass? You never know who's day you will make.
  • Make small talk. This one is hard for me. I am pretty shy. But how hard is it to strike up a conversation with the person in front of you in line at the store? What's the worst that can happen? This tells them that they are important enough and worth a conversation.
  • Going along with the above, when you ask how someone is doing, mean it. You know the conversation... "Hey, how are you?" "I'm fine, how are you?" "I'm doing well, thanks." end conversation. No more! Lets try this instead... "Hey, how are you?" "I'm fine, how are you?" "No, I mean really, how are you? How are your kids? What's going on in your life right now? Can I pray for you or with you for anything?" and then listen to what they have to say.
  • Be a shoulder to lean on. If you have a friend or someone you know going through tough times, don't just say "I'm hear when if need anything." Be there. Go over and sit with them. Pray for them. Call them up and pray with them. Take care of the kids without being asked so they can sort through stuff like funeral arrangements or whatever is going on. Do whatever needs to be done. Use your brain. You can think of things they would love help with even if they don't ask.
I think that if we love our neighbors we can change the world to become a better place. A friendlier place. A happier place. One loving person at a time.

Now I know this post was supposed to be about me and what I am doing to change the world, but honestly, I am not doing a great job of it right now. Lets all try to make a difference in our neighbors' lives by showing our love every day.

What are some other ways to love our neighbor that I have missed?

Thanks for reading!
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