5 Practical Ways to Love People Around You

I wish I knew what to do… Let me know if you need anything… I’ll be praying for you…

Have you ever said those words? You know the person before you is hurting or has gone through some major life transition. You know they need to be shown love, to be encouraged, to be uplifted. But you have no idea how.

Me too.

Recently, there were four deaths of loved ones among my colleagues. A friend is adopting two special needs daughters from overseas. One of my sisters-in-law had an emergency hospital visit.

What can I do? I’m just a new wife, working more than 40 hours a week, and as busy as ever. I want to help; I want to show them the love that Christ has shown me. But how?

I asked a few friends about what would show them love and encouragement during a stressful or hurtful time, and I wanted to share these five practical ways to love people with you.

Write a Card

Hannah of The Young Wives Club shared with me that, in the midst of her miscarriage, the most helpful thing she received was handwritten cards. She treasured the encouraging words from people who loved her and from women who had been there. I like making my own cards, but you do not even have to be creative to send a thoughtful card. It just takes a moment to write a word of how much you care. Your words and even your written prayers could mean so much.

Bring a Meal {or more}

I’m from the south, where potlucks and casseroles are a way of life. I usually think of bringing someone a meal first. However, I did not realize how impactful it could be. My husband’s family suffered the loss of my sister-in-law before I knew them. My mother-in-law says she wishes she would have allowed people to keep bringing them meals. A couple weeks is not long enough for a mother to be willing and able to cook for her family again. In fact, bringing a meal or two a couple months later is such a blessing. You can even pick up simple things like toilet paper at the grocery store at the same time! My friend Leah of Shelemah wrote a post featuring my mother-in-law’s 15 Ways to Help a Family Grieving the Loss of a Child. I encourage you to read it if you are looking for more practical and thoughtful ways to minister.

Use Your Talents

Serving others is not just for good cooks! Naomi, the adoptive mom and blogger at 127 Living, challenged me when I read her post about supporting foster and adoptive families “for the long haul,” as she puts it. God has given you unique talents that you can use for a variety of purposes – why not use a few of them to minister to others? Can you babysit? Teach or coach? Help around the house? Mow the lawn? How has God gifted you and how could this gifting be used to help others?

Be Careful with Your Words

I love Abbey’s advice in her post on loving women who have dealt with infertility and loss. She challenges her readers to be careful not to speak incessantly about babies and pregnancies, as this easily alienates women who are suffering with infertility. I find this to be so true: Women are more than mothers. Motherhood is a wonderful, amazing thing, but a woman is no less complete without children than with them. Abbey also relates how important it is to be there for your friends who are struggling, but to allow them to determine what they need. Allow them to set the tone for your help, and don’t request that they talk about it before they are ready.

“Put Yourself in Their Shoes”

…says Heather Hart in this post on three ways to practically love others. Consider what they might be feeling or how they might be affected. If this happened to me, what would I need? This enables you to show love, grace, and empathy to those around you who may be hurting, stressed, or going through significant changes. It is important to keep in mind, though, that you probably do not know exactly what this person is going through. Avoid saying things like: “I know exactly how you feel!” Instead, humbly come into the situation willing to learn how God would like to use you. Prayer is a mighty tool for sensing how best to respond in any situation.

I found that these bloggers and friends ended up encouraging me to continue loving people as they struggle with whatever they may be facing. I hope they did the same for you. As we are the hands and feet of Jesus, we are called to practically love and serve. Perhaps you have gleaned some ideas, like I did, for some great ways to do just that.

What are the best ways people have served you in your times of heartache or transition?

Five Practical Ways to Love People Around You courtesy of Grace Upon Grace Today www.graceupongracetoday.com

11 thoughts on “5 Practical Ways to Love People Around You

  1. This is such a fantastic post, Alex. Your words brought me to tears as I remembered how others have loved me in the ways you mentioned. These are very practical ways we can step out and love others. I am honored that you included my post. Praying it is a blessing to others.

    1. Heather, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to include your post. And thank you for your sweet comment! What a joy to share the love we have so freely received.

  2. What a helpful and thoughtfully written post. As a newly bereaved mother, having lost my ten year old son ten months ago, I can tell you from personal experience that each of these suggestions are things that have helped me and my husband immensely and continue to do so. Thank you for reaching out to those of us who may be amidst some of the biggest trials we may experience in our lives and to others who may need a bit of love and encouragement at a time where they may feel abandoned and alone. It is amazing how much these practical yet simple actions can be such a blessing ❤️

    1. Sonya, thank you for your words. While hearing that you have lost your son is bitter, it is sweet to know that others have ministered to you in these ways.

  3. This is such a useful and powerful post. Our words often are not only empty when said, they fall on hearts not ready to hear them. When someone is hurting, they need tangible help. The suggested ways to show you care are perfect. Several years ago I had emergency surgery and was down for 6 weeks with 7 children all under tween ages.

    My ladies group brought meals 7 days a week for 6 weeks. I was so blessed. My family felt loved.

    So while words are important, action is what we are called to do. We need to show the love of Christ to those around us.

    1. What a practical joy to have 7 meals a day for six weeks! Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Such good tips and I love how you referenced those who sparked the ideas.
    I agree with Laura, having people pray over us as encouraged me in so many ways. And praying out loud over someone or even in written form can be very powerful.

  5. These little things are a lost art. We don’t often see what a huge difference they can make in someone’s life, but God can use these things in a big way.

Leave a Reply