Change the names you give to other people.  Consider what labels – names – you’ve given to people, through the ways you think about them, talk about them, and act toward them.  Realize that you’re constantly naming the people you meet in those ways, and the names you give them reflect how much you value them.  Understand that when you give people names that they don’t deserve, you diminish them, causing you and other people to view them inaccurately.  Decide to change the way you name people by praying often for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, helping you to think accurately about them.  Keep in mind that your saving relationship with Jesus has given you a new name, calling you someone who’s forgiven and free.  Let your gratitude for the new name that Jesus has given you through grace motivate you to give grace to other people by saying and doing what reflects their real value when you interact with them.

Change the way you act toward other people.  Decide to treat other people in ways that reflect the way God treats you.  Keep people’s dignity as God’s children in mind whenever you interact with them.  Let the suffering that you go through in your own life teach you how to feel more compassion for other people who are suffering, and motivate you to enter into their pain to listen to them, pray for them, and help meet their practical needs.  Worship God regularly, opening your soul up to God’s love so it can flow through you to other people and help bring more justice into their lives.

Adapted from The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others through the Eyes of Jesus, copyright 2010 by Mark Labberton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com
Mark Labberton is Lloyd John Ogilvie chair for preaching and director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute for Preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Previously Labberton served as senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, Berkeley, California, for16 years. Labberton received his doctorate in theology from the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England. He is also a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission. He has published articles in Leadership Journaland Radixmagazines.

Whitney Hopler is a full-time freelance writer and editor. You can visit her website at:http://whitneyhopler.naiwe.com/.

Publication date: March 5, 2011