It is our nature to decide whether we like someone based on how they align with our own beliefs and activities. Life can easily become about “our movie” with little regard for other’s “movies” *. This means other’s evaluation is often based on the same, having limited participation in my “movie”. The more I thought about this the sicker it seemed until I really understood the depth of Jesus continued admonitions of loving your neighbor and that this love He so often proclaimed was unconditional. Living a life non-dependent on the feedback and behaviors of others is also not in our nature nor for us to reach out to those incapable of contributing to our life in a physical or financial way. It explains why some seem rushed in casual encounters as you are quickly and quietly evaluated for your worthiness.
Living in a way to continually pursue what God wants, by leaning on the Spirit as given and described by Jesus, is not a popular topic, even among Christians. Choosing to follow and proclaim biblical accuracy as your life’s guide guarantees, at the very least, alienation from some of your friends and possibly a relative or two. It can get you banned from Facebook or Twitter. You seldom hear men discuss being child-like before God, as Jesus explained. We just don’t want to do that, to be vulnerable and exposed or rely on someone more powerful than ourselves. We want to be in control. I have come to admire men who can do this, who are bold enough to admit it and confess their life is better because of it.
We ask, “Where will we ever find that kind of love” or “ How can I ever be comfortable letting go”? We can’t command ourselves to do these things. We can fake it, take benevolent actions out of guilt or parrot “churchy” words, but we know that’s not it, it’s not the answers we seek. To use Paul David Tripp’s exact words from New Morning Mercies, I quote:
‘The only way I can escape the self-focused bondage of my love for me and actually begin to love others is for forgiving, liberating, empowering and eternal love to be placed in me. The more I am thankful for that love, the more I find joy in giving it to others. God’s love, willingly given, provides the only hope that I can have love in my heart that I joyfully give as well.’
*References to Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
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