What do you do when someone comes to you and says, “I’m worried, I’m afraid, I’m hurting or I’m depressed?” Do you have to personally experience their specific pain or suffering to be able to listen or care for them? Do you think that the only people that can help those in distress are pastors, elders or professional therapists?
The Bible makes our response clear towards a brother or sister in need, “. . . love one another earnestly from a pure heart. . .” (1 Peter 1:22,23). The love indicated here by Peter is the love of choice and to meet the needs of another with a fervent, unfeigned love. Fervent is defined as: having or displaying a passionate intensity and unfeigned means: genuine; sincere. We don’t need to have all the answers to be able to come alongside someone and love them through their sorrow. We need to love them where they are and know that God commands us to do so in Scripture. John 13:34; 15:12,17; Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 4:7 are Christ’s command to us to “love one another.” Our responsibility is not to “fix” the person who’s suffering but to love them as Christ has loved us.
Love is portrayed by concern, compassion, sympathy, and affection. Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is patient, kind, and never ending. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. The theme that resonates throughout the entire Bible is the love that God has for His own, an unconditional love. This sincere and genuine love motivates one to share Christ with those that are lost and care for those that are hurting and hopeless.
Lord, may my heart be caring, my actions be kind and my desired purpose be in loving others to the glory of God.