An Intentional Love


The old man was out of control and out of order. His wife was taken to the operating room 30 minutes before she was scheduled and we were not there in time to pray with her before the surgery. Now his angry words echoed through the hospital waiting room for all to hear: “you’re the worst preacher ever. How much do we pay you anyway? Whatever it is, it’s too much.” As I was about to defend my boss and put the old man in his place, Ron reached over and waved me back. He knew that the man was in pain and that his outburst was not about us, but about his fears.

Intentional Love Maurilio Amorim

A few minutes later the elderly gentleman broke down and began to cry. Ron consoled him as he asked for forgiveness almost immediately. I was 21 years old and I was in my first year of ministry, but I have replayed that scene back in my mind so many times. That day I came to grips with the fact people in crisis, in pain, or in fear, might push me back or reject my help, but they desperately need my love.

The experience at the hospital waiting room has had a profound impact on me over the years. As I make my way to my church today, I know that hurting people will struggle to make their way to a church service, if they make it there at all.  One of them could even sit next to me or you. They might not be friendly or engaging, and might be operating out of anger or fear, but like the rest of us, they all need hope.

For the past few months I have made a commitment to be intentional in seeking out a person I’ve never met and to introduce myself to them at the end of the service. It’s amazing how many broken hearts are all around us. Sometimes the walls are up and they don’t even make eye contact. Other times the smiles hide the disappointment that lives within. But no matter the reaction, I’ve learned long ago that my job is to reach out and just love.

What ways are you being intentional about loving others?

  • Beautiful post Maurilio.

    Behind every face there is a story and a desire for someone to care about it. We only have to open our heart, man our post, and be willing to reach out when the opportunity is there.

    This weekend I am recruiting members of the church to go with us to Haiti in January. When people come to our booth to find out about the trip – I am going to make sure I go the extra mile and learn more about them first! Instead of quickly jumping to the need in Haiti, I will look for the one standing in front of me. Bless you, friend.

    • I can't think of a better recruiter for Haiti than you.

  • I reach out to young, needy pregnant and parenting teen girls by leading a weekly support group for them. I'm intentional then … but sometimes I think if people are within the church walls they don't need the same type of help or support. Thanks for this good reminder today! I'm gonna be on the look out!

    • Hurting people within church walls are are difficult because so much pride and shame stop us from asking for help before it's too late.

  • You won't regret, Geoff. As a matter of fact, you will feel the blessing is on you.

  • "Hurt people, hurt people."

    Rick Warren said it and it's always stuck in my head. Or in a more present tense… "Hurting people, hurt people." I think this applies to your scenario above too.

    I try to remind myself of this whenever I encounter someone who is rude, angry, upset or even just a bit stand-off-ish. We never know what their reasons are. Most of the time it has little to do with us but a lot more to do with them.

    We have the choice to fan the flame or help to put it out with a little grace and love.

    Easier said than done and I certainly have to work on this daily but that intentional love is a great reminder! Thanks.

    • I almost used the Rick Warren quote as my title. It seems trite, but it's so true.


    That's a really good point, that people who are angry usually have something much deeper going on. I also try to find people I haven't met yet and engage them in conversation.

  • Tommy Lane

    Another excellent post. It’s so important for us not to judge others. We don’t know where they are at emotionally, psychologically or spiritually. Only God can read the heart. Jesus commands us to love as we want to be loved. It works, if only we keep our own battered and bruised egos out of the way.

  • Melinda Y.

    Thanks Maurilio! Another reminder that we need to step out of the "holy huddles" in our churches. We are carriers of God's healing words, bring love to the seekers with the hurting hearts, simply because – " like the rest of us, they all need hope."

  • Kim

    Wow. This really says it all. This world is hurting so badly. We all need to get more intentional with showing our love for God and our love for others. Thank you for reminding me of that!

  • It is so true how we can tend to be the target of people's hurt. It is so critical that we don't react to their hurt but respond to it with love.

    My church is based on home groups so Sunday mornings is pretty intimate and in your face. I try to invest time into each person in my home group (about 30 of us) and get to know them. Since we're not in a huge service, it's a lot easier to get more personal over lunch in a home. It is such an amazing way to experience community.

    • I've never been a part of a house church, but I can see how powerful community could be in such an environment.

  • Johnna Bigelow

    A perfect point to ponder as I begin to wind down for the night. Thanks!

  • Vanessa

    Thank you for this beautiful post.. I've been struggling with what I think is a dead-end job. I was thinking of joining an NGO or a charity institution so I could actually go out there and help people in need. But God just won't let me quit this job. When I asked Him why, His answer was: "Don't the people there need Jesus' light? Aren't they in need, too? They're as desperate for a Savior as everybody else."
    Thanks for reminding me of what our real job is as Christians. God bless ^_^

  • Bari Watson

    This was my favorite of all your posts! What beautiful thoughts…Great job!

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