Loving people can often times be easier said then done. We all have our own areas we can grow in but sometimes you may run into people who refuse to acknowledge their real issues and they may frustrate your passion for discipleship.
So for those who have desired to love people by making disciples and have run into some resistance this blog is for you! I pray that these basic ministerial life lessons can encourage you to keep loving people no matter how they act. Loving people shouldn’t be a burden, but the joy of hearts as we share in the love of Christ for His creation.
#1 PEOPLE ARE WHO THEY HAVE CHOSEN TO BE.
Unless you believe in divine fatalism, you most likely believe like me that people are exactly who they’ve chosen to be. Certainly, people can’t change what others have done to them, but they can change how they react and move forward. Jesus never let people’s past dictate their future. He always reminded them of what He made them for and gave them the way to an abundant life. The woman at the well didn’t have to obey Jesus and experience the Kingdom of God because she could’ve remained in sin and rebellion. The choice between good and evil remains in the heart of mankind. So preach, pray, and plug away and let the people in your life choose to obey Jesus or not!
Proverbs 1:28-29, “28 Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me, 29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord.”
#2 YOU CAN’T ADD THINGS TO PEOPLE’S CHARACTER UNLESS THEY WANT IT.
In other words, as a pastor when I notice the same issues coming up in people’s lives and they’re not willing to put into practice the advice given by the leadership. Pushing them or forcing them to change will never work. You didn’t find Jesus trying to disciple the Pharisees or forcing people like the rich young ruler to change their priorities. He let them decide if they would follow Him and change.
Matthew 7:6, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
#3 PEOPLE ARE OFTEN TIMES FAR MORE INTELLIGENT THEN WE GIVE THEM CREDIT FOR.
I remember trying to help people get to church with the van but somehow there was always a group that never made it. They said they needed more time or would like a call when the van was on it’s way. However, as I exhausted myself to make sure they had everything they said they needed to come to church they still wouldn’t show up. Then I began to realize that they knew exactly what they’re doing. They were smarter than I thought because they knew if they kept making coming to church about me and the “transportation ministry” they could avoid being held responsible. So I ended up basically saying to them, “The same way you catch the bus to go to the mall is how you need to ride the van to church. So from now on please be ready when the driver comes or we will take you off the route.” I found out real quick who was serious and who was just playing around. Let people demonstrate by their actions what they really want in life.
Proverbs 1:30-33, “30 Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
#4 COMPLICATED PEOPLE MAKE THINGS COMPLICATED AND MESSY PEOPLE MAKE MESSES.
Sometimes in the church a situation will arise that has four pastors involved two elders and three deacons all because of one person’s issues. The leadership will come to me to solve the problem and usually the first thing I notice is that the person involved has created the entire mess because they are messy. In other words, it wasn’t good enough for them just to talk to one leader they had to involve everyone they knew. Why? Because they weren’t getting the answer they wanted. Sometimes as a young leader I would think to myself, “Wow, this situation must be really complicated and deep.” However, I soon realized most situations were as black and white as a zebra. The only complication and messiness was the person’s behavior! So be free from people’s drama by offering them help in a biblical way and then back off and let them figure out it was them all along. Paul never let problems in the church go unnoticed, he put the order in place and had everyone follow it and those who didn’t stuck out.
Titus 3:10-11, “10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.”
#5 LOVING PEOPLE CAN BE HARD BUT ITS ALWAYS WORTH IT.
I would never trade loving people for bitterness, favoritism, or hatred. Loving people with the love of the Holy Spirit is a privilege we all get to do. Though its hard and comes with challenges all we need to do is remember how much Jesus loved us and let His patience and compassion reside in our hearts. So let’s be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves. May we know how to always love God’s people with the same kind of love He has given us!
1 John 5:2, “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.”
Romans 12:9-10, “9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”