The greatest gift that God has given is his unending and unchanging love. It's a love so transformative that he charges us to not just accept his love into our hearts but to share it with everyone around us: "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).
Loving others as God loves us can be a challenge, but even seemingly insignificant acts of kindness can brighten someone's day and make them feel loved, valued and appreciated. Here are five easy ways to start spreading love today.
Even an effortless act of kindness like saying "thank you" can help someone feel cherished. Even if it's in passing to a stranger, showing gratitude for people when they give you food, share a meal with you or even open a door for you validates their impact on your life.
For loved ones, consistently reminding them of their importance to your life and how grateful you are for their presence is a wonderful way to express how much you treasure your relationship. It can bring you closer together and open the door for vulnerability and reciprocation, both of which are essential to a healthy and sincere relationship.
If you want to strengthen current relationships, a very personal way to show them love is to reach out to them using their love languages. Love languages are how people give and receive love in their relationships. Every person is unique and has their own combination of love languages, so learning what they respond to can help you connect with them like never before and deepen your relationships.
In total, there are five love languages:
• Quality Time - giving someone your undivided attention and doing meaningful activities together can make them feel like an important part of your life.
• Physical Touch - some people need physical interaction to feel bonded to other people. Giving them a hug, a handshake, or a pat on the shoulder can build a connection between you.
• Acts of Service - doing thoughtful acts for people can make them feel intimately understood and cared for. Whether it is a planned picnic in the park or a cooked meal for them when they're stressed out, actions like these are a blessing to those with Acts of Service as a love language.
• Words of Affirmation - some love verbal affirmation and respond well to voice-to-voice encouragement and communication. Telling them you love them and how important they are to you helps people with this love language feel truly appreciated.
• Gifts - Gift-giving can be a two-way street. For some people, receiving gifts is their love language as it makes them feel very special and valued. However, other people use gift giving as a means to express their love by picking the perfect gift.
Figuring out what makes your loved ones feel appreciated can bring you closer than ever before. To learn more about love languages, click here.
The simplest way to encourage someone and share joy with them is to smile! It is an effortless yet effective way to warm someone's heart and make them feel comforted. Beyond adding kindness to a hectic world, daily smiling actually has mental, physical, and social health benefits on our bodies, according to the University of Western Alabama. It's free to do and this blog highlights the importance of laughter in one's life, so try it today!
Giving someone a handmade gift shows affection more than just a kind word. For those who like to create and work with their hands, making a gift to give is a perfect way to spread love and kindness. If you are good at sewing, knitting, woodworking or any other creative hobby, use your talent to make them something special.
Writing letters is another great way to spread kindness. Construction paper and art supplies are a cheap way to make people a valentine, or even just a simple piece of paper with a loving message is enough to show others that you care.
Inviting people to do things with you is inviting them to share part of your life with you. If you see someone lonely on your way to the movies, the assisted living community dining hall or the grocery store, offering them company displays kindness and opens the door to a potential new friendship. Ask other people at the Bethesda Gardens assisted living community to sit with you while you eat or invite them to church next Sunday at Dream City down the road. Sharing activities with friends and neighbors reflects the kindness and love that Jesus showed to his disciples and everyone else he encountered during his ministry.
Loving others as you would want to be loved is an excellent mindset to approach relationships with. This is often referred to as the "Golden Rule". Whether it is to a loved one or to a complete stranger, sharing kindness and love makes the world a better place, pleases God and fulfills his calling on your life. As Matthew 19:19 commands, "love your neighbor as yourself." Consider implementing this in your everyday life starting today. However you choose to share love with others, make it genuine and you're likely to be shown love in return.