Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Ways to Love Strangers Today...

Sometimes lately I watch the news and see the hate plastered across the screen and my heart is grieved.  

Hurt.

Pain.

Fear.

Misunderstood.

I feel misunderstood by strangers.  I misunderstand strangers.  We live in a fallen world.

So defeat sets in.  There is so much wrong, why even try?

Because -- Jesus.



Jesus hung out with everyone and Jesus went everywhere doing good (Acts 10:38).  He also called me into union with Him, and not only that, I am to bring others with me.  So how can we do that in simple gestures in our daily interactions.  Here are 5 ways you can love your neighbor, a stranger, your spouse, your enemy well today.   



Smile.

It sounds so simple but look people in the eye and smile.  Our culture is so rushed.  We rush in, out, here and there.  Take a moment, slow down, and take in your surroundings and smile.  I always try to remember people are walking around with all sorts of "Stuff" and you just never know how a simple a smile might brighten their day.

A happy heart makes the face cheerful  
{Proverbs 15:13a}



Call people by name.

When we call someone by name they cease being a tool serving us to a person with a heart that beats just like ours.   Acknowledge that each person was designed in God's image and His handy work.  He knows their pain, struggles, and joys.  He knows the number of hairs on their head.  When you start to see people as a soul rather than a commodity, a smile seems like the least you can give. If someone isn't wearing a name tag, ask their name.  



Offer an Encouraging Word.

Make a connection, ask "How are you?", offer a compliment.  That weary drive thru worker might need to know you are thankful for them today, that mom with tantruming child might need to know you have been there.  Let them know you care, listen and then offer an encouraging word.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
{Proverbs 16:24}



Listen first.

Before you quickly offer your critique, come-back, judgement, or political view think about who you are addressing.  Will my comment uplift and encourage?  Our words can be sweet but they can also be a knife to the soul.  I myself have fallen into the trap of reacting and responding.  Later I regretted my words said in haste.  If you aren't sure if your words are helpful or hurtful, seek counsel from your spouse or friend. Words cannot be unheard.  


Action.

How can you serve someone today?  Open the door.  Assist someone fumbling with packages.  Offer to put a cart away in the parking lot.  Let someone go ahead of you in line.  Start a pay-it-forward at a local restaurant.  Send an encouraging text, praise the mom next to you, take a meal, offer to watch someone's kids.  Even the smallest of gestures done in the confines of routine mean something.  Share the gospel.  Offer to pray for them later or on the spot.


If we each take little steps toward seeing the stranger as Christ does, we CAN be the change we wish to see in our world.  

Relationships can be restored.  

Hate can be healed. 

Fear can be turned to good faith.

Kindness always wins.


What other ways do you show kindness in the day to day?  Please share, I would love more ideas!

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