Continuing the Relationship Series with our love for others…
We interact with other people daily. We see them at grocery stores and coffee shops, they serve us food at restaurants, they work with us, we drive alongside them. Other people are everywhere, duh right? So.. needless to say that the way we interact with them is important. There is no avoiding it.
So how do we interact with people we either don’t know, don’t care about (because we don’t know them), don’t personally like but we work with, feel personally attacked by because they rolled their eyes when taking our card?
A Reflection of Love
We are called by Christ to love others, and most especially those that seem least loveable. “Those who seem least loveable usually need love the most”, I’m sure you’ve heard this plenty of times and though we always read it and nod in agreement, when those unloveable moments actually come we forget.
How true is that?! So true. I know for myself when I am in a bad mood and someone is kind to me and I’m sharp in response I feel terrible. When someone is nice to me when I’m in a bad mood it almost always softens my heart and I begin to release the tension of anger immediately.
Love is seriously a powerful tool to use on those who don’t necessarily “deserve” it. The hardest part for us mere humans is being able to push past our ego and release love whether they ask for it or not and allow the Lord to work through you and into their darkness.
“Don’t just petend to love others. Really love them.”
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:9-10
I feel like these days it seems far too easy to tear someone down. It doesn’t really matter what for. They don’t parent the same way you do, they aren’t organized, they chew the wrong way, they work from home and you don’t, they don’t work and get to stay with their kids, they shop a lot, they are too stingy. IT DOES NOT MATTER! People will judge for anything and it usually stems from insecurities or lack in their own lives.
To that I say, be an encouragement to their lives. That could mean speaking positively into their lives or their situation. That could also look like you continuing to live the life you know the Lord is leading you to live and not allowing their negative words to stop you from accomplishing the life planned for you.
Some other ways include a smile, holding the door open for someone (just not if they are too far away and now they have to awkwardly walk quicker, ha!), providing a meal or change to a homeless person, paying for a strangers meal or drink at Starbucks, writing a letter to a random person in prison, refolding the shirt you picked up in Target to look at but decided not to get it (ahem!).
Encouragement can look so many different ways. You can encourage someone out in the open or allow your actions to be an encouragement to those watching you.
The goal is people should leave your presence feeling a lot better than when they got to you, why, because you have Jesus.
“Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given the glory.” Romans 13:7
A Sea of Opinions
However, don’t allow those who are negative towards you to discourage you. Don’t allow the opinions others have about a life they know nothing about (your life) to tear your mind and soul apart. People will say all kinds of things, they did about Jesus when He walked the Earth. The thing you need to remember and I know this is something easier said than done but shake it off. In the Bible, Jesus told His disciples that if they go to people speaking a good word, living a good life, and people don’t accept them, shake it off. Shake the dust off and keep it movin’. (I’m paraphrasing of course)
We allow people too much authority and weight on what we feel about our own lives. No one knows your struggles, no one feels your pain. Even if you’ve described it out to your best friend they still don’t know the thoughts you hear at night, the feelings you fight through every day, the doubts you deal with on a daily, the pain your insecurities bring to the pit of your stomach when you find yourself alone at home lost in your own thoughts. To that I say, if we already find ourselves fighting our own demons daily, then why, why! take on the negativity others want to throw on us??
We love people because it is what Jesus would do but we do not allow those people to mistreat or discourage us because that is not what Jesus wants for your life. So love and encourage but if it is not well received then remember, just shake it off and keep walking in Christ.
“Never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge, I will pay them back’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19