FOCUS QUESTION: Are you being fully present in the lives of those around you?
Last week, I discussed the purpose behind my new “LOVE DEEPLY” comfort color t-shirts and what it means to love each other deeply. As I got to thinking about it, I realized this topic was too important to write off after just one post. So, I thought I’d write a Love Deeply series and spend the next few weeks discussing examples of how we can love each other deeply.
Again, I am NO EXPERT on this subject. I fail at it daily but, thankfully, God continues to teach me. As you read these upcoming posts, may you know I’m a broken person. I don’t have it all together, but I have a Savior who does. Day in and day out, He showers me with grace and picks up all the pieces. It is only by His goodness I am able to wake up and try again the next day.
In my opinion, there are four main ways we can love each other deeply:
- being fully present
- having a Christlike attitude
- having a servant’s heart
- through prayer and surrender
Today, I want to focus on how we can love each other deeply by being fully present.
In Matthew 20:29-34, Jesus shows us what it looks like to be fully present in the lives of others.
“As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked. ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’ Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”
Being fully present is about setting aside our own selfish desires and time and focusing our attention on others instead. It’s about having a readiness to stop what we’re doing and put the life of another person before our own.
The two blind beggars felt helpless and were desperate to be noticed. They wanted to tell their story…and they needed someone to listen.
The crowd that was with Jesus rebuked them and continued walking (something they were obviously used to). But Jesus did something that was entirely different from the status quo.
Jesus chose in that moment to show them compassion. He engaged with them and listened to their story…and that made all the difference in the world.
“The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet…Jesus stopped and called them” (31-32).
This is such an important detail because it shows Jesus’ kind gesture did not align with the social norms. It was unusual for someone, anyone, to stop and offer their attention to beggars (much less give two blind men their sight…but that’s another story for another day).
And yet, that is the VERY REASON it’s worth paying attention to.
The crowd was convinced there were better moments elsewhere. Jesus, however, knew the current moment was the better moment and where He needed to be.
While the crowd saw an inconvenience, Jesus saw an opportunity.
Being fully present goes against the grain. The enemy hates it and society wants us to be anywhere else but the current moment. Both have convinced us we’re missing out and that life is happening in all the places we’re not.
This could not be further from the truth.
The present moment holds infinite value. Despite what society tells us, it is in the breadth of conversation and attentiveness lives are transformed.
When we offer someone our time and undivided attention, we’re creating an authentic atmosphere that says, “I want to hear your story.” This reopens the doors they closed long ago due to feeling unloved, unnoticed, and uncared for.
More than anything else in the world, our friends, our family, and even strangers, need us to be there and prove through our actions that their life, their existence, their presence matters to us.
We have no idea what is going on in the lives of those around us. Like the two beggars, we have no idea who is feeling hopeless or who is desperate to be noticed. We have no idea how many people have already walked by when all they ask is for just one person to stop.
Let’s practice loving each other deeply by being fully present in each others’ lives.
This means PUTTING DOWN OUR PHONES when we’re with other people. Nothing says, “I’ve got better things I could be doing” like having someone glancing at, or glued to, their phone the entire time you’re together.
We need to stop checking in on Facebook and start checking in on each other.
Those text messages, Snaps, and tweets will still be there in 30 minutes, an hour, or, dare I say it, 3 hours…but the person sitting across from us won’t.
Don’t overlook the people God has placed right in front of you.
The current moment is the better moment and THAT’S where we need be.
Join the movement! Purchase your “LOVE DEEPLY” (1 Peter 4:8) comfort color t-shirt here.
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