I have been asked the question, “How do you love those homeless women?” more times than I can count. I usually think, “They are just women who happen to be homeless at the moment.” So–maybe the real question should be, “How do I love people?” With that question–or both of those questions in mind, I want to share something with you that I read several years ago. I read it often because it has been very helpful to me when I get annoyed, upset, frustrated, angry, feel uncompassionate—oh, goodness, the list could just go on and on! It is based on I Corinthians 13:
BECAUSE LOVE IS PATIENT. . .
Help me to be slow to judge, but quick to listen. Hesitant to criticize, but eager to encourage, remembering your endless patience with me.
BECAUSE LOVE IS KIND. . .
Help my words to be gentle and my actions to be thoughtful. Remind me to smile and to say “Please” and “Thank You” because those little things still mean so much.
BECAUSE LOVE DOES NOT ENVY OR BOAST, AND IT IS NOT PROUD. . .
Help me have a heart that is humble and sees the good in others. May I celebrate and appreciate all that I have and all that I am, as well as doing the same for those around me.
BECAUSE LOVE IS NOT RUDE OR SELF-SEEKING. . .
Help me to speak words that are easy on the ear and on the heart. When I’m tempted to get wrapped up in my own little world, remind me there’s a great big world out there full of needs and hurts.
BECAUSE LOVE IN NOT EASILY ANGERED AND KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. . .
Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. When I want to hold onto a grudge, gently help me release it so I can reach out with a hand of love instead.
BECAUSE LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL BUT REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH. . .
Help me stand up for what is right and good. May I defend the defenseless, and help the helpless. Show me how I can make a difference.
BECAUSE LOVE ALWAYS PROTECTS AND ALWAYS TRUSTS. . .
Help me to be a refuge for those around me. When the world outside is harsh and cold, may my heart be a place of acceptance and warmth.
FINALLY, BECAUSE LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES. . .
Help my heart continually beat with love for You and others. Thank you for showing the world what love really means!
Now THAT–that is how to love everyone—with or without a home!