Anne blogs at Front Porch, Inspired about surrendering everyday living for sacred purposes. She and her husband, Jay, are founders of a ministry called The Bridge, focusing on missional living and advocacy for youth in vulnerable places of life. She holds an MA in Teaching Languages (English and Spanish) and is a lover of words and the Word, culture and communication. Jay and Anne have four young kids, a front door that can’t stay closed, and an abundance of messy, holy chaos at their neighborhood center/home in Iowa – of all places.
Here are 10 short - but never simple - ideas for loving the people around you. Each one begs for surrender and intentional focus. And, while relationships can never be about a numbered list, maybe the words below can cause us to think critically and prayerfully about loving well.
Pray for people. Ask God for love for your neighbors.
Research your neighborhood and community. Who lives on your block? In your community?
Mentor others and be a student of others. Engage in people's lives. After all, disciples make disciples make disciples.
Intentionally make new friends often – people outside your culture and socioeconomic status, just for the sake of being friends.
Appreciate another culture’s contributions. Listen to music in another language. Eat new foods. Watch international movies. Choose to enjoy, not compare.
Examine your attitude. Be grateful rather than resentful for the way God has brought the nations to the country in which you live.
Embrace children and invest in the lives of a young person, or two. Love kids because Jesus loved them.
Choose purpose-filled everyday living over scheduled programs. Be available to people and be relational as you go about your average day.
Preserve the dignity of others by empowerment rather than just aid. Value individuals and their God-given potential.
Give. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.