How can we love others well during this time of social distancing? We may have to be creative in our approach to loving others in the midst of this time of not meeting together, but we can still be intentional to do so. Loving like Jesus means loving others in the midst of difficult times, so let’s consider how we can reach out from afar.
Take advantage of social media.
A simple way to connect with others during social distancing is through social media. You can message people on FaceBook or Instagram to make sure they’re doing okay. You can text or call and connect with people. FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype are also great ways to connect with face-to-face options. In the past week, I’ve connected with some of my students over Zoom and FaceTime, called or texted extended family members, texted members of our church family, and participated in Bible study via Zoom. I’ve also posted encouraging songs on FaceBook to remind people that God is still worthy of our praise, and He is still in control. My husband, Tim, has been posting nightly FaceBook Live devotionals on our One Disciple page to try and offer encouragement and guidance during this time. There are countless ways to use social media to connect. Ask the Lord to help you take full advantage of these means for reaching out during this challenging time. Offer encouragement to others through social media, even though you cannot connect face-to-face.
Find creative ways to meet needs.
Another way to love others well during this time is to find creative ways to make sure needs are being met. Think about people in your sphere of influence who may need food or supplies at this time. This week, I’ve packaged homemade casserole and left it on my porch for friends to pick up. I also baked banana bread for my neighbor, who came and picked it up. A friend dropped off a homemade pie at my house for my family to enjoy. Even though we can’t enjoy a meal together with friends at this time, we can still let other people know we’re thinking of them by providing food for them.
Another way we are trying to help people in our community is by supporting local restaurants that are owned by families in our town. Along with ordering food from these family-owned businesses, we are also trying to help them by promoting them on social media. Support and encourage these local families however you can at this time. Most of them are trying to support their employees as well as their own families during this unprecedented time.
Consider helping older people in your life by picking up groceries or medicine that they may need. Since the elderly are one of the most susceptible groups of people, many of them cannot safely leave home at this time. People who have other existing medical conditions may also be at greater risk right now. Check on vulnerable people you know who may need help with food, medicine, yard work, or other needs. Find ways that you can safely help meet those needs.
There are also ways to help meet the needs of the medical community at this time. You can pick up fabric from stores such as JoAnn’s (they will bring it out to your car), and you can sew masks for medical use. At our local hospital, they have put out instructions on social media for how to make the masks, and they have a place where you can drop them off outside the hospital. Helping to increase the supply of masks during this time of increased need is a way to lovingly serve others well.
Loving others mean lifting them up in prayer. Pray for those in leadership positions who are having to make difficult decisions. Pray for those on the front lines of medical care as they face the personal risk of illness while meeting the physical needs of others. Pray for people who are confused or angry because of what is happening; this may be the very circumstance that God uses to draw them to Himself. God is in control, even when we do not understand why things are happening. Pray for others to trust God during these uncertain times and encourage people by letting them know that you’re praying for them.
Loving others can happen through a variety of means. We may need to be creative in these unique times, but God will give us wisdom and insight as to how we can reach out to others with His love and comfort as we travel through uncharted waters. Take comfort in knowing that God is not surprised by what is happening and reach out with hope in any way you can. People need to see the love of God in action now more than ever.