People are difficult.  If I am honest with how I feel about people…sometimes they are awesome, but there are enough times that people are really rotten that I feel like just pulling away and not dealing with them at all.  Isn’t there a saying that goes something like “running a business is easy until people get involved?”  I mean, seriously, do I really need this?   It would be a lot easier to just pull back and only deal with those that I am really close to.  And I do this a lot. 

In our digital society it is increasingly easy to disconnect from interacting with people.  You can communicate via text without ever talking to someone.  You can order online, without ever interacting with someone.  You can play with your phone at dinner without really listening to what your family has to say.   You can walk into the grocery store with your headphones in and completely skip any interaction with someone there.  

But…..God is love in the purest form and we are all children of God.  All of us.  Not, just the people I find really funny, good for my soul or attractive.  We are all God’s children, and He has called us to love one another.  Luke 10:27 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and Love your neighbor as yourself.”  That doesn’t say “be nice to your neighbor.”  It doesn’t say “I know a lot of your neighbors annoy you, don’t worry about loving on them, they probably don’t need it or deserve it. “  It says Love your neighbor as yourself. 

Too often, the day is passing and I have only looked out for myself and maybe my little family or my business.  How many times am I reaching out to those that I know are hurting?  How many times do we get home from work and rush into our houses without even greeting our neighbors (I don’t have neighbors now, but I used to!)?   Do I ever take the time to compliment the gal bagging my groceries or my bank teller?

A few months ago, I found out that one of my cousins, who I am quite fond of, and her husband, whom I am also quite fond of, were having some really significant marital problems.  I was really, really saddened by this because I do really enjoy them, think a lot of them, and know how important their marriage is for themselves and for their children. 

I was really moved by this news and I decided I would contact them via e-mail , phone, text or something.  Now, I have not seen them for several years and I usually keep up with them via updates from my mother.  So this would have been very unexpected.   I did the whole “speech in the car” thing where you recite all the awesome things you are going to say to somehow help ease their suffering and seem really wise all at the same time.  I talked to my mom several times about what was going on, and was really fixated on their situation.  I felt called to reach out to them.  But, for some reason, I never did.  This is my own family member and I did not take the time to say something meaningful to her at a time when she probably needed it the most.  Why?  I don’t really know.  I think it was a combination of laziness, being too preoccupied with other things, and not being that close to them anymore. 

So, today I found out that some friends of mine are splitting up.  Bad news.  I’m not sure if it is a permanent thing, but they are living separately right now.  They have young children and I know it is a really painful situation.  For as much as I know about this situation, we aren’t actually really close friends.  We just haven’t known them that long.   Yesterday, I happened to have a few extra minutes on my hands and was driving by one of their workplaces.  Normally, I would have just drove right on by, but, with my new idea of stepping out of my comfort zone to do what God has called me to do, I thought about stopping in and just saying “hey, I’m so sorry for what you are going through.  I’ll continue to pray for you.  And, if there is anything I can do, let me know.”  

I pulled into the parking lot and then backed back out.  Then I hesitated again, pulled back in and found a parking spot.  I sat there for a minute.  I sat there and just asked God if this is what He wanted me to do.  Um….like God wouldn’t want you to reach out to one of His children?  Seriously?  Maybe I was worried that it wasn’t my place or that this person wouldn’t want to talk about it.  Whatever the reason, I did go in and it was appreciated.  People need more love.  This world needs less judgement, more love, more compliments, more hugs.   Regardless of if you believe in Christ, you can’t really argue that.

So I am going to challenge myself to continually reach out.  It doesn’t have to be someone who is hurting.  It could be taking the time out of my busy day to talk to the old man who is eating alone at Hy Vee or really truly listening to that person who drives me crazy….the challenge for tomorrow is to Reach Out In Love.  Reach out to someone you would not normally reach out to.  Reach out to someone that maybe it is hard for you to reach out to.  Because loving our families or our best friends, that’s not a challenge….loving all God’s children…that’s the challenge. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak in tongues or men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  

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