The Impossible, Implausible, Uphill Task of Loving Others

sureles asked a question:

The bible says to: “speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” and I want to so badly. I want to be joyful, full of words of encouragement to those who need it. To love others well–especially those closest to me. But I am finding that I am unable to. I am finding myself to be more selfish and needy than I want to admit to myself. How can I love others well when I feel so weak and needy myself?

Hey my dear friend, the truth is that loving people was never going to be easy, because people are not easy.

They’re difficult, fluctuating, frustrating, and completely the opposite of math, because they’re unpredictable.  Even loving a person well is no guarantee that it’ll turn out okay.  And since each of us are just people, it’s also difficult to muster up feelings to love someone.  As Francis Chan once said, if we find it tough to love a perfect God, then of course it’ll be even tougher to love imperfect people.

Here’s the deeper truth. 

If you pressure yourself into being Super Nice Christian and set up absurd parameters to love others, you’ll always fail.  It’s unfair to yourself.  Some of that might even be savior-complex or martyr-syndrome.  You can’t equally “love” everyone all the time or you’ll end up hating yourself and everyone else and owning fifty cats and a giant spindle (and if you do, high-five and let’s hang out).

We can serve others the best we can by the Spirit’s leading and we can be aware of our limitations. I don’t mean we love people less.  I mean that we can’t spread ourselves thin.

Each day, we have a maximum amount of outpouring that we can stand. We go a little past that, and then pack it up to rest.  Each day, that could mean we serve one or two people really well instead of twenty.  And you’re wired differently than others.  Mother Teresa could’ve probably washed a thousand feet in a day. Maybe you can serve by listening to one friend for three hours.  My own limit is about four to six hours of serving, and then I have to crash. You work that out in prayer and see what God has wired you for.

Have grace for you too, dear friend. And please don’t make it such a chore.  Loving people is joyful, exuberant, wonderful, and tons of fun.  God has opened doors for you to get there.

— J.S.

Also check out:

– Ten Thoughts About Loving The Unlovable

– Grace Is Unconditional: But It’s For You Too

– Grace Is Thoughtful: It Considers A Back-Story

3 thoughts on “The Impossible, Implausible, Uphill Task of Loving Others

  1. I love your comment “you work that out in prayer and see what God has you wired for.” Like you said, we are all different. We are all given different gifts by God. We just need to acknowledge our gifts and use them in the way God intended.

    I really enjoyed this article. It is hard to love EVERYONE ALL THE TIME! I never took it into the perspective of what God has us wired for. It makes sense. Great article!


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