Children of Light and Love #2: Helping People:
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20-21).
One of the passions of my heart is seeking and pursuing God and wanting to go deeper in His presence. Many of you have a similar passion – to love God and live for worship: you want more of God; you want to spend time in His presence. But do you know what the Bible says? If you love God, love His people. When you show love to other people, it proves that you really love God. You can say that you love God until you’re blue in the face, dance up and down, spin around in circles and lie on your face before God in worship the whole night, but when you stand up and relate to other people, there is the proof of your love for God. How do you treat people? How do you treat your brother? Your sister? Your parents? Your spouse? Your friends?
The Bible says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18). If you say that you’re a Christian who loves God, then you have to love people. We can’t neglect one another—God wants us to be concerned about those around us!
“Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters.” (Galatians 6:10). Now, we’re called to love everybody—to love the world, love our neighbour, and even love our enemies, but the Bible does say to especially love other Christians. If God is our Father, then that means all Christians are our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and we should watch out for one another, and treat each other like family!
HOW do we help people? What do we do to help people when we know they’re going through a hard time? Here are some real simple things that I’ve found are real practical ways we can help people.
- Do fun things with them. Sometimes we just need to hang out and have fun with people. If you want to help someone, it doesn’t always have to be preaching, reading the Bible to them, and praying for them. Sometimes just being with your friends is helpful—just being there for them. You don’t have to have all the answers and be a great counsellor.
- Give them a hug. That sounds so simple, but a hug is such a powerful thing. Hugs can make people feel better! There’s something powerful about a loving human touch.
- Pray for them. When you have a friend who’s going through a difficult time, ask them if you can pray for them. As you’re praying for them, God may give you a word of encouragement for them. Never pass up an opportunity to pray for someone.
- Accept them. This is one that’s especially important when you have a friend that’s going through a real hard time and they’re in a really bad mood. Although your first response might be to just want to stay away from them, this is the time when you need to be willing to be there and be a friend to them.
- Cry with them. The Bible says to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). This is a real powerful friendship thing that you can do. When you have a friend who’s crying, sit down and cry with them! You don’t have to have all the words of wisdom, just cry with them and give them a hug.
We have an opportunity today to make a difference in the lives of people around us. We are God’s children—children of light living in a dark world. There are so many lonely, broken and hurting people who need to be healed, and it’s our responsibility to reach out to them with the love of God. There are people all around us who have no friends, or who are dealing with difficult family situations, like maybe they’re going through a divorce, or maybe they’ve got relatives in their family who are sick and dying. As Christians, we are called to help each other in times of trouble. If you’re going through something, don’t keep it to yourself—share it with your Christian friends. Let’s look around us for those who are in need of a word of encouragement, a loving hug, or love and acceptance.
Pastor Chris Jordan