Are There Evidences?
Jerry N. Duncan, Ph.D., ABPP
We discusssed last week some of the ways that genuine and thoughtful love could be shown to others. Gary Chapman’s, The Five Love Languages, is a great model to work from.
I found this interesting story—“The early Latin writer, Tertullian of Carthage, declared that the one thing that converted him to Christianity was not the arguments they gave him, because he could find a counterpoint for every argument they would present. ‘But they demonstrated something I didn't have. The thing that converted me to Christianity was the Way they loved each other’"
I can’t think of anything that would make being a follower of Jesus more attractive than a life lived with evidence of real change. What would this “evidence” look like?
Isn’t it noticeable when someone gives up his seat in a crowded room, bus, etc.? How about letting someone go ahead of you in the checkout line at the grocery store who only has a few items?
Here are a few questions to ask your neighbor across the street or right next door –Are you cool/warm enough? Do you have enough food? Do you need transportation to a doctor visit? Can I watch your child while you go? Do you want someone to be with you when you go? Can I mow/weedeat your lawn? Can I clean your house? Can I wash/vacuum your car? Can I fix anything? Can I put something away/get anything down?
Remember, the average amount of time it takes a widow or widower to normally grieve his/her spouse is four years. That means that some take longer than four years, and that’s OK. And, some take less than four years, and that’s OK too. Many are forgotten after only two weeks, or maybe a year. A call or visit can mean a lot. A simple, “Thinking about you,” or “Can I come by and pick you up/meet you for breakfast/lunch/dinner/church?” can make a big difference to a forgotten griever.
When we are with others, do we talk respectfully and honorably about people not present? It will be noticed.
Remembering others’ birthdays, hugs, pats on the shoulder, compliments of character traits (honesty, tenderness, timeliness, etc), statements of appreciation, cards, notes, texts, and e-mails all are evidences of love and concern. Intentional and thoughtful love doesn’t really require a lot of our time.
Discovering and then meeting the needs of someone else is the deepest kind of love that one person can have for another. I assure you, it will be the kind of love that will change at least three people each time it is done.
First, it will change you. You will be your best self when you are actively and purposefully looking for and meeting the needs of others.
Secondly, it will change the life of the person you love in this way. To know that someone cares enough about us to discover our need, and then meet that need, touches our soul.
Lastly, it changes the life of observers like Tertullian of Carthage who are looking for something/someone that can give genuine hope and meaning to life. If being a follower of Jesus makes a difference there should be evidence that it does. “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other." (John13:35)