Everybody, Always | Bob Goff

Summary of: Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People
By: Bob Goff

Introduction

In ‘Everybody, Always’, Bob Goff invites readers to explore the profound and transformative power of love, particularly in our relationships with difficult people and challenging situations. Through a collection of personal stories and insightful reflections, Goff helps us understand that loving everyone means not just accepting but actively embracing those who might test our patience or trigger our insecurities. Taking inspiration from Jesus’s teachings and God’s love, the book suggests that we can break down the barriers that separate us and create a more inclusive, supportive world. Prepare to embark on an enlightening journey where you’ll learn how to utilize faith, forgiveness, and kindness, even when things seem darkest and most challenging.

Universal Love and Unity

Jesus’s central teaching is love for all, not just those you’re fond of or approve. This love requires treating everyone as if they were God, whether they’re sick, hungry, a friend, or a stranger. To practice this, strive to build a kingdom of inclusiveness instead of erecting walls that keep others out. Following Jesus’s example leads to powerful connections, such as different churches joining together in acts of charity and forming broader communities that can positively impact the world.

Jesus’s message of love is the foundation of his teachings, emphasizing that love shouldn’t be exclusive to friends and family but should encompass everyone โ€“ even those we might dislike or disapprove of. Jesus himself demonstrated this, sharing his last meal with Judas, who ultimately would betray him.

God asks us to love our neighbors, which means all of humanity โ€“ each and every person we encounter. To do this, Jesus teaches us to treat everyone as if they were God, regardless of their status or relationship with us.

A practical example comes from Goff’s friend Walter, who actively welcomes refugees in person with warmth and enthusiasm. This type of love requires creating a universal kingdom of inclusion, rather than building a fortress of exclusion.

One powerful illustration of this principle in action is the “crop drop” event organized by a church in Alabama. Different churches in the area came together to bag leftover potatoes and distributed them to the needy. Participants lowered their metaphorical drawbridges, coming together as a new and enlarged community instead of seeing themselves as separate or opposed entities.

Therefore, if you desire to lead a life filled with love, Jesus’s example serves as a blueprint. Embracing love for all and striving for inclusive communities can be a challenging task, but by following Jesus’s teachings, we can develop the courage to love others and foster unity in the world.

Leaps of Faith Transform Lives

Taking a leap of faith enables us to overcome life’s challenges and thrive. By trusting in something greater, like God or supportive friends, individuals such as Lex and Karl have been able to conquer their physical limitations and make a difference in the world. Embracing this faith and accepting the unknown ultimately empowers us to face adversity with courage and resilience.

In life, taking a leap of faith can make extraordinary things happen. Consider Lex, who lost his eyesight at age eight. Rather than letting this setback define him, he put his faith in a trusted friend to guide him. By listening to his friend’s shouting, Lex was able to become a long jumper with the US Paralympic team, even winning a medal at the World Championships.

Similarly, trusting in God can fill your life with hope and courage. During a nerve-wracking airplane landing, Goff, a skilled pilot, had to put his faith in God when his landing gear indicator lights failed. As it turned out, the landing gear was deployed all along; the faulty light was the only issue. As we navigate the uncertainties of life, embracing faith in a higher power can provide the support we need to grow and persevere.

Another inspiring example is Karl, who was paralyzed from the neck down due to a swimming accident. Rather than giving up, Karl turned towards faith, resolving to follow Jesus’s example of love to guide him. He drew strength from the similarities between him and Jesus โ€“ both relied on words to make a difference in the world. With hope and determination, Karl learned to control his wheelchair using a special straw and ultimately found a meaningful way to combat injustice by working in the attorney general’s office.

Life will always present us with challenges and moments of doubt. Taking leaps of faith and trusting in a higher power or the support of friends can help us overcome these obstacles and live courageous, fulfilled lives.

Skydiving Lessons for Life

When Goff and his son decided to learn skydiving, what he didn’t expect were the deeper life lessons the experience would provide. Three important lessons emerged: obeying your instructor (or Jesus) for just 30 seconds, cutting away a faulty parachute like an imperfect faith, and catching others in life’s difficult moments. These lessons help us become better individuals, capable of understanding and caring for others, while also strengthening our faith.

When Goff accompanied his son to a skydiving course, he discovered profound wisdom infused in the safety instructions – lessons that can be applied to our everyday lives. The first lesson is absolute obedience for 30 seconds, which resonated with Goff as a way to approach one’s faith. Ideally, we should be following Jesus’ teachings every single moment, but that can be an unreachable goal. Instead, focusing on obeying Jesus for short durations during challenging times is more practical and allows us to grow in our faith.

The second lesson Goff learned revolved around cutting a faulty parachute. In skydiving, a single loose string can prove fatal, prompting the need to use a backup parachute. Similarly, Jesus wants our faith to be flawless, and if something is amiss, he wants us to cut the cords and rebuild. This helps us strive for perfection in our faith and, ultimately, in our love for others.

Lastly, skydivers understand that the second impact after an initial bounce from the ground is what causes deadly injuries. This analogy translates to life’s hardships, such as losing a job or a loved one, where people need support the most. After individuals have faced their initial struggles, it’s crucial for others to provide love and care to help them recover from life’s bounces. Goff realized that providing support to those in need during these critical moments is an essential part of living a compassionate and meaningful life.

Parenting with Love and Faith

Love, as demonstrated by God, is the guiding force we should use when parenting. It allows us to remember that our children are also God’s children, and by supporting their growth and helping them discover their identities, we show love not just for our children but for God as well. Following God’s example, we should focus on guiding them in discovering who they are rather than dictating what they must do, allowing them to flourish on their journey. By doing so, we provide the foundation for a lifetime of love and happiness for our children and ourselves.

Rather than using fear or authority, parenting should be rooted in love, just as God loves his children. Bob Goff’s willingness to learn skydiving was driven purely by love for his son, and Jesus came to earth out of love for humanity. Love should always be our motivation when guiding and nurturing our children.

Parenting effectively doesn’t require dictating our children’s actions, as such an approach often leads to resistance and fails to foster genuine personal growth. Instead, we should inspire them by helping them discover who they are and who they can become. Goff’s father advised him on how to care for his truck, which he ignored. But when we share who our children are becoming, they are more likely to embrace their identity and walk their true path. God used this approach with Moses and Noah, enabling them to become leaders and fulfill their destinies.

Recognizing that our children are God’s children too reminds us to nurture their growth with love, helping them find their purpose and passions. Just as Goff feels joy in his children’s happiness, God too rejoices in our love and compassion towards our children, His children.

By modeling our parenting after God’s love for His children, we unleash the potential of our offspring and create a legacy of love, faith, and happiness.

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