How to Love People Better

I have a childhood friend who has adopted 9 of her 11 children, most of whom were damaged in utero by alcohol. Many of them require a breathtaking level of care and an environmental stability that’s hard to imagine in a home with 13 people sharing bathrooms.

What happens in her Minneapolis home is a miracle, a daily reminder of the faithfulness of the God she serves. I devour her blog Urban Servant trying to figure how someone with this much responsibility not only holds it together but has time write it all down. Recently, I took a good look at the tagline on her home page:

Filled, to be poured out again…

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 7.21.17 PM

Yep they all do Tae Kwon Do too.

See, it’s not about her and she’ll tell you that. Nobody has this kind of stamina and personal courage. Rather, Dot understands she is a cup, designed to be filled with the love of God, then poured out on kids who, without she and her husband, would be crashing through the system. She doesn’t always know what to do but God does, and by trusting him over the years, her cup has grown in strength, character and volume.

This, my friends, is the purpose of Love Dinner. Dot’s life is an encouragement, a high-level example of what Jesus meant when he said:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

If you’re struggling with the love others part of the command, like that annoying woman at church or the tailgating jerk in traffic, you might be running on empty. If you don’t know how to fill up, pick up a bible and look up a few of these scriptures on how much God loves you, because when you finally get that, deep in your bones, it’s hard not to weep and tremble at his feet.

Fill up. Pour out. Repeat.

Most of the world struggles to live like this because they don’t know God is Love (I John 4:8). Imagine if they did. What would it look like? I think this video is a fun example, plus it has a ton of practical ideas for doing love well.

Love Dinner Assignment – Just for fun, try a few of these things in the video, or next time you’re in a drive thru, pay for the person behind you. Then tell us what happens.

Advertisements

Fill up with Love. Pour out. Repeat.

In a million years, I never thought I’d attend a Christian conference, much less enjoy one. They looked cultish and weird, with fog machines and a band cranking out Jesus songs while people hollered with their arms in the air and tears on their cheeks.

But then I went to one, and for the hundredth time since I began following Jesus like I mean it, I got to admit I was wrong.

How easily we accept the broken state of the world, kind of like we do the presence of smog. We breathe it, we lament it but what can we do?

Christian conferences are a reprieve, because in a stadium filled with people who boldly seek salvation from a God they can’t prove, the smog lifts and the Holy Spirit descends.

I know, because I was at this conference where this artist blew us away with an overhead projector and sand. All weekend, I glimpsed what the brand-new believers felt on the day of Pentecost, when Jesus sent his spirit to inhabit them. I sang with my heart, stood with my hands in the air and hugged the women next to me who I finally realized were my sisters.

Me. The girl who is too smart for all that, fell to her knees and trembled in the presence of God.

It’s hard to go back after that. And it’s painful to walk out of the stadium and into the smog, but that’s what Christians are supposed to do. Fill up with the love of God, then go spill it on people who desperately need it. It’s a system Jesus explained repeatedly to his followers and Jewish religious leaders.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Fill up with love. Pour out love. Repeat.

Have a great weekend.