Photo by Ramiz Dedaković on Unsplash
5 Ways to Love Your Neighbor From a Distance
As Christians, one of our most important duties is to “love your neighbor” (Mark 12:31)
But with the recent outbreaks of COVID-19 and subsequent social distancing, it’s hard to know how to reach out. When you have to stay away from someone, how can you continue to show your love for them?
It might be tempting to withdraw, spending more time on social media, napping, or binging shows, and less time thinking about others. And while it’s important to let ourselves unwind with some of these things, it’s also vital that now, more than ever, we’re reaching out and checking in on one another.
So to help you out, we’ve listed five ways you can continue to love your neighbor while practicing social distancing.
1 – Give Someone a Call
Social distancing can feel lonely, but it doesn’t have to. Even though you shouldn’t hang out with your friends in person, you can still utilize readily available technology and reach out to people virtually.
FaceTime, Skype, Facebook calling. There are lots of ways to stay in touch. Even just an old fashioned phone call can lift someone’s spirits. When you do contact someone, try to share good news and ask how the other person is doing. Make a simple phone call an act of service by practicing good listening and helping others feel less lonely.
You can even host Bible study or share your beliefs with a friend over the phone. Sharing the good word of God with someone, even from a distance, can help lift hearts and make this time of social distancing more manageable.
2 – Share Your Talents
With all the bad news being shared, it’s nice to break up your day with something positive. Maybe now you have some time to work on a hobby or develop a talent. And one way you can serve your neighbor is by sharing those talents. It can give others something fun to read or look at, something to take their mind off of the current pandemic.
One of my friends is a talented voice actor, and she decided to share that gift during quarantine by reading a book out loud every evening on Instagram live. That way her friends can tune in and listen. It’s a great way for her to practice voices while she also helps others escape their worries and stress for a while.
You don’t have to be a voice actor to serve your neighbor with your talents. You could share a picture that you drew, record yourself singing or playing a song, or even offer to help someone write a new resume or cover letter. And with most kids home from school, there’s a need for virtual tutors. So if you’re a biology expert or a math wiz, you could offer to tutor a child in your neighborhood via FaceTime or a phone call.
3 – Login With a Purpose
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably turned to social media at least once for comfort during this crazy time. Like it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Social media serves many different purposes, but right now we can use it to love our neighbor from the safety of home. We just need to make sure we don’t get sucked in.
That’s why this step is “Login with a Purpose.” When we sign in to social media with a specific goal in mind, we’re less likely to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others or getting into arguments in the comment section. Social media can be a tool for good, but it can also be a time waster or make us feel insecure, so it’s important to be intentional with our use.
The next time you get on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform, have the goal to lift someone else. Whether that’s sharing a heartwarming video, posting about good news, or commenting encouraging words on a friend’s post, having a set goal can help you feel more fulfilled in your social media use, and your efforts can help brighten someone’s day.
4 – Consider Volunteering
Now more than ever, there’s a need for volunteers, but if you can’t leave your house, how are you supposed to help? Turns out there are lots of volunteer opportunities right at your fingertips.
Because a pandemic causes great stress that can affect mental health, there’s a need for volunteer crisis counselors. You can visit www.crisistextline.org/volunteer for more information about volunteering. The commitment is a 30-hour free training, and then 4 hours a week until you reach 200 hours. If you have the time and want to help, check out their website and sign up!
Another way you can volunteer is by becoming a translator. If you are fluent in another language, visit translatorswithoutborders.org/volunteer. Translators without Borders is a non-profit that provides aid in humanitarian crisis response.. Even if you don’t speak another language, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with TWB as an online volunteer.
If you have a specific skill you can offer, search for ways to volunteer your services online. You’ll be surprised by how much can be done remotely.
5 – Donate Online
Of course, there’s always the need for charitable donations, especially right now. Even if you don’t have surgical masks or canned food to donate locally, you can love your neighbor and help those in need by giving money online. Just check out an organization before giving to make sure it’s reputable.
If you want to give money a little closer to home, you can always give to neighbors or family members who might be struggling. Consider donating to those who have lost jobs or gotten sick due to the pandemic. You can even just venmo a friend enough money for groceries. A little generosity can go a long way!
One More Thing…
There’s one more thing we can all do right now to help each other: pray. Prayer works. It might not result in exactly what we want, but it will bring us peace, hope, and love for each other. Even if you can’t do anything else, you can always pray, and God will listen. He is listening to us all right now, and He will help us through whatever comes our way.