People. We’re always around them, we’re constantly seeing them, in a very real way we need them more than we think. There’s been a saying that’s been sticking to me over the last few weeks: loving God is only half the equation.
One day Jesus told people that every commandment God ever gave hinges on two: loving God and loving people. While it’s easy to love God, most of the time it’s difficult to love people. Why? Because people are difficult. They’re flawed, they’re focused on the wrong things, they’re… sorry we’re easily moved by things and often times emotionally bankrupt. It’s when we’re at our worst, that God seems to give us His best and because He’s loves us, we’re expected to do the same to others.
The kind of love Jesus talks about isn’t only loving people that are great, He talks about loving everyone, even the difficult people. Even the people that have hurt us, even the people that aren’t deserving of our love, and yes even our enemies.
WHAT ARE WE LEARNING FOR?
When you look at your life, usually you look to assess whether it’s working for you. But if your life working for people around you? Because I’m a preacher, A lot of times I spend hour studying and preparing messages. But sometimes I find I’m only preparing for a message, and not actually preparing to engage with the world around me. Loving isn’t about what you say to people, it’s about what they see in you.
IS THIS TRUTH, OR DOES IT JUST SOUND GOOD?
I’m all for sounding good, but when it comes to making people a priority we need truth. I want to spend my life telling people truth, encouraging and uplifting and at times hard to swallow truth. Loving people isn’t about assessing where they are or reminding them where they still need to go. It’s about telling them who they are and celebrating how far they’ve come. And yes… even the difficult people need this from you.
I was in the cafe at our church recently and saw a bottle of cane sugar that usually gets squirted on top of coffee drinks. The flavor was cheesecake. I was disgusted. Not because I don’t like cheesecake, but because I knew what was in the bottle wasn’t cheesecake!
It’s the same with love. We can’t just squirt something nice on stop of a problem and call it love.
PEOPLE AREN’T ISSUES.
While we enjoy having opinions, opinions aren’t always life-giving. Great leaders know how to release opinions and operate on truth. What I think about something is cool, but what God says about something is eternal. You know what God says about people? He loves them.
Sure we’re all works in progress, but God’s more into our development and growth than the appearance of our success. When love is a priority, growth happens naturally. Maybe we’re chasing the wrong things. Bob Goff says “God makes people. People make issues. But people aren’t issues.” To love people we need the eyes of God, and to see them as He does, then love like He always has.
What we do is all for people. Let’s not get lost in all the doing that we forget about our priority: people.