When it comes to being and making disciples we know that God wants us to love one another, but let’s be honest: that’s impossible. Instead of pushing into that feeling of weakness and depending on God’s Spirit to work in and through us, we reduce His commands to make us feel more comfortable.
We reduce loving people to making them feel loved.
We live in a postmodern world where love is determined by how we feel. If we don’t feel loved, then it’s not possible that we are loved. The problem is that communicating hard truths doesn’t always feel like love and there is a way to make people feel loved all day, and never actually love them.
It must be more.
Let me be clear: loving people doesn’t mean you don’t care how they feel.
So many of us don’t care if people feel loved at all. We say things like: you don’t have to like someone to love them. I’m so glad God doesn’t think that way: I love Fabs, but I don’t like her very much. He cares about how I feel and He actually has affection for me. It’s just that He’s not willing to compromise actually loving me to make me feel a certain way.
Loving one another must include building relational trust and love, but it must not end there. Loving people means putting them first, putting their needs before your own.
And their deepest need?
Same as mine: More of Jesus.
Sometimes that will look like giving them a hug, and sometimes it will look like saying or doing something that is painful for you both.
Measure the truth of your love for people by your willingness to put their relationship with God above how they feel about you or your friendship.
1. Do you have safe places for people to come and feel loved? Are those spaces a means or an end?
In this event culture, folks want to find a place where they can share anything and ask for help without ever being challenged. It’s critical that people feel the love of your community, but true love cannot happen if being pushed is off the table.
2. What if you developed a culture of direct communication in your community?
Ever thought about why people gossip so much? Because of this issue. We want people to feel loved more than we want to love them. There is no way to be discipled or to disciple others if you are not committed to communicating directly.
3. Is your tendency to neglect how people feel? Or is your tendency to confuse making them feel loved with actually loving them?
And how does this play out in your own relationship with God? Do you doubt that God cares about how you feel? Has God ever done things in your life that didn’t feel loving but have proved to be loving?