I sit in a quiet space. My Bible on my lap. My journal beside me.
I ask the Lord to speak to me in the stillness. I want to hear His voice.
And I thank Him as He pours His promises into my thoughts.
Then this weekend, I stopped in the stillness and wondered…
Am I simply hearing or am I really listening? Am I journaling words of love, hope, and promise and brushing past words of conviction that challenge my heart toward trust that obeys. Am I hearing what I want and ignoring what I don’t?
Moses called all the people of Israel together and said: Listen, Israel, to the commands and laws I am giving you today. Learn them and obey them carefully. Deuteronomy 5:1
I suddenly realized I want to do more than just hear. I want to listen. I want to trust Him by following and obeying His commands.
“The most important command is this: ‘Listen, people of Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second command is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no commands more important than these.” Mark 12:29–31
His words make me wonder if people look at my life do they see a follower. Do they see someone who loves like Jesus?
I wonder if you ask the same.
And then I look around at a hurting world knowing that more than ever…
You and I need to live His love!
My heart hurts as I look at all the brokenness. The way we hurt each other with our words and with our actions. I watch the news and grieve what I witness in our nation.
So, I will guard my words. I will not join the debate. I will not point fingers. I will not take sides. Because the truth on every side is as people we are failing to love each other well.
I believe there is only one answer for followers of Jesus.
When we look at each other we must look past the surface and see souls deeply loved by God. We must see each person as someone for whom Christ died.
You and I can make a difference. We can start looking at what’s inside at hearts and stop grouping people based on things like skin color, religion, economics, popularity, power, or politics.
I’m tired of finger-waggers blaming each other because if we are failing to love like Jesus, we are each guilty of being a part of the problem.
I wonder what would happen if rather than looking for laws or solutions that pit us against each other, we turned to the only law, the only solution, the one command that has the power to change hearts and therefore lives.
The command to love one another!
Will you join me and make a pledge to listen, to follow Jesus
and obey God’s command to love your neighbor?
I am pledging to:
1. Look into eyes, smile, and make an effort to connect with everyone. To look up from my phone and really see the people around me.
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” ~Mother Teresa
2. Look past broken exteriors and see souls deeply loved by God and important to Him. To see every person I meet as someone for whom Jesus died.
We know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. This is how love is made perfect in us: that we can be without fear on the day God judges us because in this world we are like Him. 1 John 4:16–17
3. Listen with understanding, remembering everyone views life through a filter of their own perspective and personal experiences.
“Defensiveness is usually someone silently screaming that they need you to value and respect them in disguise. When you look for deeper meanings behind someone’s pain you can then begin to heal not only yourself but others.” ~Shannon L. Alder
4. Offer everyone compassion, kindness, and love. To engage in conversations and listen more than I talk. To be understanding and caring.
“In the New Testament, love is more of a verb than a noun. It has more to do with acting than with feeling. The call to love is not so much a call to a certain state of feeling as it is to a quality of action.” ~R. C. Sproul
5. Pray for God’s Spirit to unite us through His gift of love. I can’t do this on my own. BUT with God’s help, I know I can love like Jesus. Not perfectly, but intentionally.
Father, we need you. We are hurting and we’re hurting each other. You commanded us to love and we are failing to love well, to love like Jesus. Forgive us. Remove our fear of those who are different. Work in our hearts and minds by the power of your Spirit that we might see one another the way you see us. Created. Loved. Precious. Help us to help each other. With you all things are possible. We want to do better. Give us eyes to see and hearts enthusiastic to love. In the name of our loving Savior, Jesus. Amen.
With the Spirits help, I will hear. I will listen. I will follow wherever He leads.
I will take my quiet time of worship and make following Him my daily act of worship. I will give my all to the One who gave His all for me.
Oh, I know I won’t get it right. I will still see life through the imperfect lens of my sinful self, but I trust with God’s help I can do better. I can look through my Father’s eyes that love this undeserving soul and reach out with that love to others.
You and I can be the change we want to see.
Will you take the pledge to listen, follow, and love with me?
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