One of the hardest thing for me to do is love, perpetually, deliberately difficult people! Do you know someone like that? A person who, seemingly seeks ways to antagonize, to frustrate? (Even, at times, those who claim to know Christ?) We are reminded in Ephesians 6:10 that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood; it isn’t against people; but out there is someone, insisting on helping us forget that! Here are some principles to live by; some steps to help us, in that area, in 2017.
Step 1: God loves people, that includes me (John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.)
Step 2: People (that includes me) are created in the image of God, Himself (Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.)
Step 3: Christ died for people (yep, me too) Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Step 4: God commands me to love them; (John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.)
Step 5: Maybe, now is a good time to really look at me, am I any better? (Matthew 7:3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?)
Step 6: People are not perfect, and guess what? Neither am I! I need to lower the expectations; people are and were created for God’s pleasure, not mine! (Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Step 7: Invest in the time to know people, before giving a title to the friendship, I want to cultivate. It is for my good, as well as theirs. Every relationship does not have to end in a close friendship…( Proverbs 12:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.)
Step 8: Relationships are not always two-sided; Friendships are not created fair and equal. I should stop comparing what I have done for her, against what she has done for me.(John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.)
Step 9: At some point in someone’s life (maybe more than one time) something or someone will shake their foundation, their trust, their faith, in people and very often, in God. I must be faithful, I must be steady. (1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.)
Step 10: Some people are only meant to be in my life for a “season”, I should not try to hold on to them. (Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.)
Some people make it hard for us to love them. We must remember that we were once enemies of God, that we are not always faithful to Him, yet even in our state, He loved us! Oh how He loves me! Perhaps, a good verse for me to remember is found in Luke 6:32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them! Wow!
We can only truly love others, when we love the Lord more. On our own, when we look at others, through our eyes, it will be impossible to genuinely love them, warts and all. How do we demonstrate our love for God? We daily spend time with Him in His Word and obey it!