• Feet on the floor of the bus

 

 

There’s always that one person – you know the type. We smile – pasting on a thick grin and praying that they don’t see through the facade. We step into the church gleaming our “Jesus” personality and then rush towards the coffee section; glaring down children who dare to steal the last donut. “Don’t they know that they should respect their elders?!” This is when it pays to have a few gray hairs. Phew! Tommy and Betty release the last sweet treat and your day is made.

 

As you reach for your “reward” and enjoy the succulent taste of victory and chocolate eclair, you notice that today’s sermon is based on “Loving your Neighbor”. You’ve got this, but really wish that your neighbor would have come with you to church today. After all, if there’s anyone who could use this message it’s her.

 

The lights dim and the worship soothes the savage beast – well at least for some. You reach down for your iPhone to catch up on emails and to add your last 2 cents to that running Facebook argument. “Ha! This will really get them!” You smile knowingly - feeling smug and righteous for that last zinger. Click To Tweet

 

“Hey guys! Welcome! Let’s take a look at John 13:34-35.” The pastor reaches for his iPhone and flips to the passage

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 

The pastor pauses and allows the words to sink down deep. “You see, this verse dares us to question our idenity. Christ reveals himself to humanity and tells us that his actions and life is representative of God the Father’s love towards us. In the same way, this passage asks us to look in the mirror – it challenges us to question our identity – it challenges us to question the meaning of love.”

 

He reaches for his notes and reveals that there are 3 ways that we can love our neighbor.

 

1. Listen and learn

 

Embrace the silence. Too many times we leap into conversion and label it “conversation”. We pounce in and share our 12 minute monologue, patting ourselves on the back as we go back to our own reality. Listening takes time – it dares us to lean in and hear the hurt, frustration and hopes of someone who might think, act or believe differently than ourselves. It challenges us to reach out to humanity and bear the burdens of a stranger even for a moment.

 

2. Leave them alone

 

It’s imperative that love and respect go hand-in-hand. This requires us to respect people’s privacy and their boundaries. Sometimes, we can overstay our welcome and exhaust people with our presence. God can’t speak to others if we keep interrupting. Sometimes, the greatest gift we can offer people is time.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Invite them along

 

Everyone is different. Take time to know if people are Introverts or extroverts. Learn to understand what each person needs to recharge and then respond. Don’t simply invite them to your church, but invite them into your life. This requires you to be a mentor; not simpy a convertor. People need to trust you, before they listen to you. Building trust requires time and requires true friendship.

 

Question: Which steps do you need to implement this week to really love those around you? You can leave a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

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Colleen Batchelder

Colleen Batchelder has always been passionate about putting Feet to her Faith! She loves traveling the globe minstering at various churches, colleges and conferences speaking to audiences ranging in age from 9 – 101. She speaks on inter-generational communication, reaching millennials within the workplace and church and breaking down generational assumptions.

When she’s not pouring over books, you can find her enjoying a nice Chai Latte, exploring NYC or traveling to a new and exotic destination.
Follow Me!
Colleen Batchelder"> Colleen Batchelder
Colleen Batchelder has always been passionate about putting Feet to her Faith! She loves traveling the globe minstering at various churches, colleges and conferences speaking to audiences ranging in age from 9 – 101. She speaks on inter-generational communication, reaching millennials within the workplace and church and breaking down generational assumptions. When she’s not pouring over books, you can find her enjoying a nice Chai Latte, exploring NYC or traveling to a new and exotic destination.

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