I had written a blog awhile back about loving others. I loaded it with scriptures and strong opinions and I ended up deleting it because, quite honestly, I had a chip on my shoulder and it all came out badly. I don't have that chip anymore but I do still feel compelled to talk about the matter.
I see so many Christians not walking in love.
I was talking in frustration to a friend in Seattle about some of the relationships I'm building here. I asked her point blank, "What do I do?" She answered quickly without falter, "Love them even if they can't love you back."
"UGH!!!', I told her, 'I'm not good at that." But, as soon as I said it I knew that it didn't matter. The Bible talks about loving your enemies. I'm not claiming I have any enemies but I do feel that love is lacking. I'm in an environment where people look at faults and errors in a character make-up and it's their job to work people through that. It becomes a problem when those gifts pour out into daily relational activities. To have that kind of critical eye can become a shortcoming rather than a blessing if it's not submitted always to the Lord because that is when judgements and perfectionism can get in the way of being loving to each other.
So how do I do that and still be sincere? I don't want to be "fake-loving" people. I want to actually "be loving" toward others. I've been praying about it and about specific people and really trying to do some of the following things:
1. Assume the very best about someone regardless of my gut reaction. I know that sounds naive and silly but it prevents me from dwelling on bad behaviors. It forces my mind to stay focused on their good qualities.
2. Choose to not be offended.... no matter how hard it is. Trust me...I'm spending a lot of time praying which leads me to number 3;
3. PRAY! When I was in AA, one of the things that I had to do was pray for people I struggled with for 14 days, asking God to give to them all that I wanted for myself. Trust me, it DOES turn your heart around.
5. Find ways to love them. I haven't really gotten into this but I've been thinking about ways I can show love by things I can make or buy or do to bless others around me.
6. Accept people in their mess. Lord knows I'm inundated with flaws and even though I can feel the critiquing and judgments coming from others, it doesn't mean I have to do that. I can choose to look beyond that and accept them right there, right now, as they are. Isn't that the ultimate act of love?
Jesus says "Come as you are." He didn't say "Come when you get your shit together." Thank God for that. I would never be good enough so why do I expect others to be "good enough" for me? How self righteous?!! No wonder people are fleeing from Christianity. What a burden to be perfect and expect perfection from others. NO THANKS! I will take mess any day and from anyone.