“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35 (NKJV)
Christians are given the extraordinary privilege—and the extraordinary challenge—of sharing God’s love with others. The privilege comes from seeing the healing power of that love in the lives of hurting people. The challenge comes in trying to help people who have little interest in God recognize the life-changing power of His love. Here are five steps you can take to rise to the challenge.
Do you have friends, family members, coworkers or acquaintances who don’t really care about God—or who seem to hold a grudge against Him? Have you been involved in social-media firestorms that erupted over seemingly innocuous posts about God? If so, you’re probably aware of some of the common arguments and objections people raise when it comes to the idea of a loving God (“If God loves us, why doesn’t He …?” or “Why would a loving God allow …?”). Consider these arguments and objections when you think about ways to make others aware of God’s love. Look for ways to avoid or defuse conversational landmines.
Think about the doubts and obstacles you faced on your way to embracing God’s love. Think about any painful events in your life that might have made the Lord seem distant and unloving to you. Once you have a clear sense of your own rocky journey, you’ll be better prepared to connect with others who are facing similar struggles.
Some people’s reasons for resisting God—including bitterness, grief and an agnostic or atheistic upbringing—are extremely difficult to counter. If you encounter a situation like that, call in some backup. Talk to people who have more experience than you do when it comes to sharing God’s love. Pick the brains of wise, mature Christian leaders, teachers and professors for guidance on how to share and defend what you believe.
Think of the many different ways in which you’ve experienced God’s love—and especially the many different people who helped show it to you. Ask yourself these questions:
• What was it about those encounters that was so meaningful to you?
• Why were certain people able to reach you when others weren’t?
• What can you learn from them that will help you share God’s love with others?
Sharing God’s love isn’t a prepare-until-we-feel-comfortable assignment. The need is too great. At some point—sooner rather than later—we have to jump in and start tangibly demonstrating God’s love to others. If that means “learning on the job,” so be it. Experience is a great teacher. The more you involve yourself in the lives of others, the quicker you’ll find different styles and approaches that work for you.
For additional reading, check out the article 4 Bible Passages That Leave No Doubt About the Importance of Empathy as you continue your work to share the light of Christ.
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