A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a man named Peter Strople. He was at the Re:Write conference as a speaker. Honestly, I had never heard of him even though he was known as the most connected man in America. When he got up to speak, you could see and sense his humility. It wasn’t what I was expecting from “the most connected man in America”. I quickly understood his humility and his ability to connect when he said his personal motto is “When in doubt, love.”
In a room full of writers who wanted to bless God with our talents, there was one person in the room who didn’t appear to belong. He had jet black hair done up like an 80’s band member. I think he even wore a leather vest that showed how his arms were covered in tattoos. Peter called him up to the stage to demonstrate what he meant. As he asked questions, diving into this man’s story, it was like watching a flower bloom. The one who was different, and an outcast, became the most beautiful thing in the room and everyone wanted to get to know him more.
Peter demonstrated what it mean to show love to someone. He didn’t just talk about it, he showed us how to do it. My whole life, I’ve read that we are to love one another, and have been taught about it as well from the pulpit. This was the first time I remember watching it in action and saw the result. Peter showed this man love by genuinely getting to know him and listened intently. It wasn’t about making himself look good. It was about valuing this person and showing them that they mattered.
Romans 13:10 says, “Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love” (MSG). Wherever you are today, there are people around you who need value added to them. Make a choice now to look for them and to show them love. Let’s not just talk about loving them, let’s do it. Don’t ignore someone because they’re different from you. Get to know they’re story and show them that they matter.
I believe that there are several habits we as Christians can adopt in our lives to become the type of believer we truly aspire to be. While Hebrews 11 has compiled a list of heroes of the faith for us, there have been many people who have lived since that time whom we can learn from as well. If I were to ask you to think of a person, past or present, who exemplified a life of faith as a believer, you could probably think of a name quickly. Whether they were written about in the Bible, history, or have just touched your life in some way, they have habits in their life that you and I can adopt into our own lives to become that type of Christian.
To me, one of the greatest habits we can adopt is the habit of love. In John 13:35, Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples when we show love for each other. There’s no greater habit than to be able to love others the way that God loves them. To be able to do that though, we have to change the lenses that we use to look at people. We have to see them through God’s eyes and not our own.
The least valuable person on earth is worth enough to die for in His eyes. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). Romans 5:8 puts it this way, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love was not dependent on our actions and involved Him doing something for our good. It wasn’t just words.
It’s easy to say you love the least of these, but God is looking for more than words. He’s looking for love in action. He wants us to show His love to a broken world because that’s what can bring healing and worth. He wants us to feed and clothe the homeless, embrace those with HIV or AIDS, and to give grace to those who least deserve it. That’s the kind of love He has shown you and I. We are to do no less.
I John 3:28 say, “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” (GNB). Having the habit of love in our life doesn’t mean we sit around and talk about the problems in our world. It means we go out and do something about it. You’ll never solve homelessness, poverty, or other things that cause brokenness, but you can do something about it for one person. Andy Stanley said, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” Don’t let the enormity of the brokenness in this world keep you on the sidelines. Instead, let the love of Christ help you to run to all the crises in this world with open arms.