1 John 4:16 – God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and in him.
How do we begin to teach someone how to love themselves so they can love Christ? Webster’s unabridged dictionary defines love as a strong affection for or attachment or devotion to a person. Theologically, it means God’s benevolent concern for mankind; man’s devout attachment to God; the feeling of benevolence and brotherhood that people should have for each other.
Sometime in spring 2012, I was getting in my car on a residential street. It was about 10:00am so the streets were somewhat desolate because this is the hour where most people have already arrived at their destination for the day. However, there was a woman walking down the street and she looked a little disheveled and somewhat confused. Quite naturally, the first inclination was to think that this woman could possibly be a drug addict, at which point many people shut down and would have left her to her own devices. But something in me said, “That woman looks to be in need. She might be homeless or confused, let me not judge her.” So I proceeded to watch her movements as she walked aimlessly. I then drove up beside her and asked if she was ok. At first she didn’t know how to receive me, so I asked again. She responded that she was fine. Now it could have been her pride that kept her from telling the truth or fear, or she may have been looking for her next drug score. I have no way of knowing for sure but all I know is that I felt compelled to assist another sister in need.
1 John 3:17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
Now many of you may ask, “What would you have done if she said she needed help?” Truthfully, I don’t know exactly what I would have done, but I can tell you what I believe God would have led me to do.
First, I would have listened to her. Most people who are in distress need a good listening ear to vent their frustrations. They also want to find at least one person who will believe in them.
Second, I would have offered to assist her through the services available and professionals who are equipped to handle whatever was ailing her. You see church, love is to be dispensed in the manner of which you can handle. Don’t take on more than you can chew. So depending on the need and your gift, I would advise that you seek assistance. For example:
1. Health issues = hospital/ambulance
2. Domestic violence = police/shelter
3. Drugs = Counseling/drug facility
4. Housing = Social Services
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Third, after hearing her out and assuring her that I would contact the appropriate treatment source, I would then offer prayer. Since I was around the corner from my church, I would have let her know my affiliation so that she would know that I was anointed to take on this task.
Finally, before releasing her into the hands of a help provider, I would have told her that I would follow up with her (and I would keep that promise). It would be at the moment of follow-up that I would have invited her to fellowship with me at church, because at this point I would have gained her trust. I would have shown her that I was a Christian through my actions. In turn, she would have received my brotherly love. Who knows, this may have been her first experience with the love of Christ.
1 John 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This beloved, is a part of missionary work which we are all ordained to do by the mere fact that we are Christians.