(Photo by Kimberly Loidolt)
How-To: Love Others First
By Kimberly Loidolt
As summer begins in full swing, it is easy to slide into a mentality that focuses on yourself. After all, summer is the time for transformation. Many people use this season to workout, tan, change a hair color, save and spend money, and work on themselves in order to enter into the upcoming busy seasons. For some college students, it’s doing all they can now before the upcoming busy year of classes. For some parents, it’s sending their kids to swim lessons and basking pool-side until it’s over. Everyone at some point has over-used their amount of “me time” during the summer season.
Instead of using this time to relax and enjoy ourselves, let’s use the long days and slow-moving schedules to reflect on all of God’s mercies, and let His love shine through us as bright as the summer sun.
“We love because He loved us first.”
– 1 John 4:19 (NET Bible Translation)
For the first month of this summer season, I had the amazing opportunity to travel with an Action Team from my university to Guatemala. It was there that I learned truly what it means to love others first. During our 21-day mission trip, my team had the chance to visit the homes of people living in a small village called Pacaya. The natives in that village were the first people in my life to truly show me what it looks like to use God’s love to put others’ needs before my own.
When we visited all of the homes, the residents had close to nothing. Most of their homes were one room with a couple beds. The floors were concrete, the walls and ceilings were metal sheets, and the doors and windows were just cut outs. These people had nothing of their own, yet they welcomed us into their home with such joy and pride. Every single home that we went to made it a well-known point that we were welcome back any time, whenever we needed it. They didn’t even have enough space for their own families, yet they offered space to us. They used God’s love and compassion and spread it out to us regardless of what they had or didn’t have.
My only wish for myself and all other children of God is to live like those villagers. To put people before yourself no matter what. I know that I am not anywhere near their kind of compassion, but I am working toward it, because that’s why God put us all here—to love others first. And the only reason we have the ability to love those around us, is because God loves us so much more than we can even fathom. Now let’s continue the cycle of love by letting His love move through us and unto others.
Invite those that have more than you into your home when you have nothing. Love others. Love them first.
“It is my command: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you.”
– John 15:17 (NLT)