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…

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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.

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Did You Get What You Wanted for Christmas?

Present

Present (Photo credit: ejorpin)

All I wanted for Christmas this year was to stop doing nothing about the condition of the world, to be more like Jesus in the exact way he calls his followers to be – light.

After calling himself the light of the world, Jesus passed the mantle. WE are now the light of the world and WE are meant to shine like a city on a hill. It’s so simple, but I have sipped countless lattes with my smart, beautiful friends discussing hunger and poverty and slavery and AIDS, fixing our hopes on some opaque redemptive body and wringing our hands.

But Jesus Christ did not ruminate over why the Jewish mental health system failed the demon-possessed man. He just stopped what he was doing and healed him.

So a month ago, I began raising money for The Exodus Road, a coalition of covert investigators rescuing child sex slaves out of SE Asian brothels.

By Christmas day, 18 people, from my parents, to friends, to complete strangers had contributed $1000 of our $1400 goal. That means all of us are engaging the problem of sexual slavery, not just talking about it. We are advancing an army of light, which the darkness cannot suffer. We have done as Proverbs 31:8 says:

Open your mouth for the dumb, for the cause of all who are left desolate.

And yet many people still gaze at all the sticky, black tar fouling the earth and say, “It’s too big, too dark. God can’t possibly be here.”

But He is and here’s how I know:

Careful readers will note we fell short of our $1400 goal. I did the best I could by my deadline and handed the rest over to God.

Yesterday, a couple I don’t know in Minnesota donated the last $400 – our biggest single donation.

candles

candles (Photo credit: rogerglenn)

They gave on behalf of Urban Servant, a blog written by my childhood friend Dorothy, who has adopted nine of her eleven children, many of whom were damaged in utero by booze. If there were no Dorothy, there would be nine more needy, little people dropping through the system like metal balls in a game of mousetrap.

But there is a Dorothy and she is a beacon. This woman has 13 mouths to feed thrice daily, yet she made time to blog about us in such a compelling way, people I don’t know made a sizable gift in her name.

This is how God works. After we agree to serve Him, He uses us like melodies in other people’s songs.

When we get less selfish with our time, our money and our hands, when we accept that we don’t know what we’re doing and may mess things up, when we engage one another in sometimes slow and inefficient ways, that’s when the light shines through us and people can see it. Then the world is a little less dark.

I’m grateful for all of you. Happy New Year.