* Pursue brotherly kindness. Remember that God loves all people – they’re all His children, made in His image. Ask Him to view other people as your brothers and sisters, and to give you love for them to help you bear with them in all their flaws and annoying eccentricities. Decide to care for other people no matter what, recognizing that you can’t truly love God unless you also love the people He has made. Rely on God to overcome your feelings and act in love anyway when dealing with difficult people. Treat everyone you meet as an equal. Live in unity with other Christians, recognizing that whatever makes you different can’t possibly be greater than what makes you alike – Jesus living inside you. Develop close relationships with other people in which God’s love flows freely between you. Serve others in practical ways for their good and for God’s glory.

 

* Pursue love. Ask God to help you love unconditionally. Instead of waiting to feel love for someone, decide to act in love toward that person no matter what. Love the “least of these” (people you’d be tempted to trample or sidestep without love, such as prisoners, homeless people, or refugees). Love the “most of these” (people whom you’re most likely to resent because they cause you to feel jealous and insecure, such as someone who got the promotion you wanted or someone who looks more attractive than you). Love the “worst of these” (people who have hurt you in some way through mistreatment). Remember how deeply and unconditionally God loves you, and let that love cast out fear from your life and give you the confidence you need to love others.


Adapted from Hidden in Plain Sight: Seven Old Things that Can Make Your Life New, copyright 2006 by Mark Buchanan.  Published by W Publishing Group (a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers), Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Mark Buchanan lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with his wife, Cheryl, and their three children, Adam, Sarah, and Nicola. He is a pastor and the author of several other books, including
Your God is Too Safe, Things Unseen, The Holy Wild, and The Rest of God. Some days he is restful or playful without shame.