Day One: Let Each Other In
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
How do we do this? How can we actually pull this off? How do we imitate being loved by the one who is LOVE Himself? One of my biggest heroes of faith is Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries. (Yes, you should Google him and get lost in all of his wisdom and beauty). He often says, “People change when they are cherished. Be kind.”
One thing that Jesus did so well was to cherish people. The Son of God looked everyday people in the eye, listened to their stories and invited them into a relationship with Him. Even people who were skeptical about who He said He was. He respected their opinion and loved them well anyway. Look at his friends! They were fishermen, tax collectors, Jews, and ordinary humans who failed and doubted and even walked away at times. Mary Magdalene was in a dark and lonely place when she met Him. They were not much different than you and me, but He received them and cherished them. He dignified them with his attention and friendship. What happened as a result of this kind of love? Transformation. Peace. Love. Ministry. Faith. Revolution. More people knowing His love.
We often skip this simple and powerful step when our intentions are to introduce someone to Jesus. We lead with the punchline before we earn the right to start the conversation. Instead, love others by welcoming them just as they are… cherishing them. Wherever they come from, whatever they’ve done- if they have air in their lungs they were dreamed up and created by the same loving God who created you. Be a place where they can be safe to be loved because not everyone has that. We only need to let each other in. God will take it from there.
Day Two: Let's Party!
“Weep with those who are weeping, rejoice with those who are rejoicing." Romans 12
I don’t know about you, but one of the most challenging disciplines for me is slowing down. I looove being efficient, saving time, finding the backroads, and taking the shortcut. I also need to have a thought about everything, an answer, a piece of advice, or even a funny joke to deflect an uncomfortable moment.
In a world with Google and Alexa, our response time to any stimulus has become instantaneous because we don't have to stop and think for a second if we don’t want to. Answers are fed to us, and we move from one thing to another without pausing.
This verse can be challenging for me when I really dig into it. Sure, I can have compassion and empathy. That's a pretty straightforward ask. We, as Christians, understand this. However, I think God might be inviting us into more with this verse. I suspect that He is asking us not to rush to the end of the moment all the time. He is calling us into the thick of the present moment with one another. If there are tears, let’s do tears, let’s lament, let’s cry out to God. If the moment is victory, then let’s party! Let’s thank God for all He has done. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12).” Whatever it is, let’s be available to what God wants to do deeply in those moments. It is a holy thing when God’s children connect to each other and, as a result, to Him. Let’s take the time to let those moments be holy.