Have you heard this old adage? “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s true.
Think back for a minute. Who was your favorite teacher in school? Why were they your favorite? Did they make you feel special somehow? My guess is that you knew they cared about you. That made what they taught that much more valuable to you.
Let’s try something else. Who would you consider a mentor in your life? Someone who helped shape who you are today? What is it about them that made you take what they said to heart? Did you (or do you) know they care about you? You bet! They had (or still have) input in your life because of the special relationship you share.
Do you want to speak into the lives of the children you teach? Into the lives of your own children? Into the life of a friend or neighbor? The same rules apply. You have to build your relationship with them first. Show you care if you want your words to carry weight.
We see this in disciplining children. If you don’t have a relationship with a child, it’s much harder to get them to do (or stop doing) something.
We see this in our friendships. If you don’t have a relationship with someone, you don’t take their criticisms or slights too seriously. They don’t know the whole story and you know it.
As Christians, our goal should be to love others. Christ commands us to care for others. Romans 12:9-21 provides an excellent description of how to do just that.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NIV)
Lord, help us to love as You love. Help us to show others we care. Provide opportunities for us to also tell them about Jesus and disciple them so they can grow in Christ. Teach us to be Your hands and feet in this world. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.