Love is such a powerful emotion. Most of us find it easy to love our nearest and dearest – our family and friends – and for some people this is enough in life. They see no need to extend their love outwards from this closed circle. In fact, the thought doesn’t cross their mind at all!
I used to think like this, but now the thought of sharing love to others outwith my little circle crosses my mind all the time. I know it’s God prompting me to act. I believe the first and easiest way to extend love outward from family and friends is to focus on the local community, which has a diversity of layers and avenues to become involved in.
Here are a few things we can all do to show love and kindness to those in our community:
Donate food, toiletries etc. to the local food bank for those who are struggling financially and cannot afford to feed themselves and their children. Don’t donate with judgement in the back of your mind. Just help people who need help and give gratitude to God that you are financially able to do so. We think nothing of spending £10 on a good bottle of wine to take to a family gathering. Include your local community as your family now! I’ve decided to allocate 10% of my weekly food bill to the local food bank. You could, if you prefer, allocate a specific amount each week, say £5 or £10. Do it regularly. Make it a new, positive habit in your life. One added benefit of this is that you will feel good knowing you are making a difference. Not only will you be changing others’ lives; you will be changing yours too!
Treat others respectfully: do not use them for your own gains; think of their good points when they are being difficult; speak well of them to others; walk away if they seem intent on having an argument with you; do not read their private correspondence; give them space; allow them to be the person they are, not the person you want them to be. Treat them as you would like to be treated. In other words,
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16)
Actions speak louder than words:
Be actively helpful: for example, pick up litter from your neighbour’s garden if you know s/he is unable to do so; if someone asks for your help, give it if you are able (this could be simple things like giving directions, opening a door for someone with a pram/in a wheelchair and so on); and that metal gate to the park which squeals and grates each time it is opened or closed – go ahead and grease it so that others will not have to hear it. Actively look around your local community as you walk or drive through. Where is help needed? Can you phone the local refuse department to uplift an old sofa which has been lying on the grass verge for a week? Can you phone the police department to install speed detectors on a local road where cars regularly speed? Can you pester local community groups to do litter picks in your area? If community groups are unaware of problems, how can they be expected to deal with them! That’s where you come in!
I hope this post has given you a few ideas of how to spread love and kindness out to your local community. Please feel free to send in your suggestions. Much love, Anita. 😀