We live such busy lives, especially in a big city like Sydney. It’s easy to fall into the trap of not caring for others. You see it every day. People intent on getting on with their lives and not being concerned for anyone else.
Neighbours these days don’t talk to one another, and everyone avoids talking on the trains or bus. So, what has happened? Are we scared to show any response for fear of being rejected? I believe most people are kind and generous—it’s just they don’t show it. Stories have been reported in the media of older people living alone and dying alone. No-one noticed the grass getting longer on the front lawn or the letterbox overflowing. It’s so sad.
We don’t take risks to tell people we care for them or that we love them. It’s not difficult—in fact, it’s so simple we can easily overlook the obvious things to do. Like smiling at people, listening to their stories, and answering their questions.
Why not ask for their opinion and listen as they answer you? Believe what they say and delight in their stories. Old people, particularly, love to be listened to. I recall one 90-year-old lady who said at her birthday party, I have many of the answers to life’s dilemmas, but no-one is asking me the questions.
Asking someone to help you with a problem is a good thing to do. If you make promises, keep them. You certainly will gain credibility and respect. Why not introduce them to your family and friends, and remember their birthday? Laugh at their jokes, and find a common interest. It’s important to accept them as they are, and share a meal together. These are just some of the ways you can show you care.
A Great Example of Loving Care
One of the great examples of showing care is Jesus who went out of his way for others. He was the divine Son of God, but he was human as well. He liked to be with people. And in John 12 we read of a day Jesus went to Bethany where a dinner was given in his honour.
Martha, Mary and Lazarus were there. Martha seemed to be a good cook, and Jesus must have been hungry and exhausted after all his caring for others. Mary sees an opportunity to do something special for him. She took a pound of costly perfume. It wasn’t like our type of perfumes—it was like an oil you rubbed all over your body. Mary poured it onto his feet and wiped his feet with her hair. It was an extravagant act of love done spontaneously and with genuine love.
She crossed all the traditional and cultural boundaries. A woman was not supposed to touch the feet of a rabbi—but she wiped his feet with her hair. It certainly caused an uproar. And Judas is enraged: “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages” (John 12:5).
But Jesus told Judas to leave her alone. He understood this act of generosity came from a sincere heart. Mary had offered him a gift, and he received it graciously in spite of what others said or thought. She took a big risk and was probably ridiculed and called names. But she offered a wonderful gift of sweet smelling perfume and a foot massage to Jesus, a man whom she was not afraid to show how much she loved. It’s good to show Jesus how much we love him.
The Best Way to Show Jesus’ Love
Do you know the best way to show it? To love others and be kind to them. Every time we see someone in need, we can remember that Jesus loves them too. And he may be wanting us to represent him by caring for that person, even if it means taking a risk or looking silly.
Why not try listening to people? As small children, we learned to talk by listening to others. But we also learned how not to listen at a young age, and we can switch off and not listen. But you show you care by listening. It’s not only hearing—it’s actively trying to understand and feel someone else’s concerns. Saying, I know how you feel is not accurate. How can you know that? Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Sometimes we say, Things will get better. That may not be true—they may get worse. Avoid giving advice to others even when you know the answer. People don’t want your advice—they want you to listen carefully to their story. Avoid judgement because good communication ends when judgement begins.
Our problem is that we feel we have to solve every problem, and that is not possible. Listening is often all we can do, and sometimes, it is the most important thing we should do. If we do that, we will send a message that we do care.