The ways in which churches and Christians express care and concern commonly reflect how they interpret Jesus’ command to love one another. While love and care are inseparable, a challenge arises when people try to decipher what love means in the context of caring. Since it does not make sense to say “care one another,” to make the phrase grammatically correct, people subconsciously add either the word for or about. Although it may not seem so, the word you choose is significant as it determines the direction you go and the way(s) you care.
Caring FOR entails helping people
Caring for is synonymous with “taking care of,” and is primarily task-oriented. When caring for people, we naturally focus on the issues and concerns they express and default to meeting needs that are apparent. A few of the ways people care for others include:
- Helping family and friends who are incapacitated or needy
- Performing random acts of kindness
- Volunteering and supporting causes that are near and dear to us
Caring ABOUT reflects discipling
Caring about people takes conversations and how we express concern in a different direction. When we care about people, we take an active interest in them, the direction of their lives, and their spiritual health and well-being (Colossians 2:2-4). Going down the discipleship road requires us to step out of our comfort zone, and be vulnerable, available, and intentional with God and people.
There is something quite invigorating about taking a vested interest in others, engaging in spiritual conversations and disciplines, and seeing the Lord move in mighty and powerful ways. Plus, when we genuinely care about people, it is only natural to want to go the extra mile and care for them as well.
Could it be that adding the word for, instead of about, dilutes Jesus’ command and the point of love? Though it is certainly easier to meet basic needs and care in ways that are task-oriented, according to the Scriptures, it appears that a biblical approach to caring demands:
- Attuning our hearts and minds to the Word of God
- Spurring and building one another up spiritually
- Finding our purpose, peace, and provision in Christ