Monday, November 24, 2008

Do you LIKE other people?

Here’s something I was thinking about today. In the Christian world we often talk about loving each other (primarily because that’s what Jesus said we should do – “love your neighbor”).

But, do we really LIKE each other?

I’ve heard a lot of people (including myself) say things like, “Of course I love them – I have to – I’m a Christian. But I don’t have to like them.” I think this misses Jesus’ whole point! He wasn’t teaching us to SAY we love people, He was teaching us to truly love people. And if we truly love people, guess what, we’ll like them, too!

So, maybe what we should start asking ourselves is, “How much do I really LIKE other people?”

There’s no doubt that we all have those things that will annoy others. I’m not saying all that goes away. What I am saying is that we begin to really see people how God sees them – He loves them – and He likes them, too! Annoying quirks and all.

/D

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

No, sadly I do not like people. I do not think I even like myself, because of my caustic attitude and treatment of others, (most probably people but I usually use the nouns morons, jamokes, idiots. Well you get the idea.)

I pray to be more Christ-like to be open-minded, to be receptive to Gods' word and command. I volunteer, though not enough to change my opinions. The test is continuing when those I believe I'm trying to help, backstab and abuse me. I tend at these times to think, "What am I doing wrong?"

I beat myself up, then I study ways I might be better. I look for comfort in the Bible. I try to follow where I think I'm being led. I cannot stop trying to do what I feel is Gods' work for me, but I sure wrestle with liking myself and the human race in the process.

Does God tell us to like ourselves?

Amy said...

I always think this! I definitely need to be better about truly loving AND liking people! Good post Dave! I hope you guys are doing well! I MISS YOU!

Dave said...

Hey Anonymous!

You are not alone. If you've read my posts you probably know that I'm really "stuck" on Jesus' teaching for us to love God and love people.

I also think you've hit the heart of the issue when it comes to loving others, we often don't love ourselves. There can be all kinds of reasons for this (and I won't attempt to guess what's at the root of your struggle - although I'm happy to continu this conversation to get to know you better).

One starting place to consider is to recognize that you have been made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Now there's no doubt that we all make some poor decisions (and we are also subject to the consequences of other people's bad decisions), but this does not change how God feels about us - He absolutly loves you! And when we are able to understand this, we are able to love ourselves (and others).

I'd encourage you to read 2 Peter chapter 1 (this is almost to the end of the Bible). Then write me back and tell me what you think God is saying to you.

/D

Dave said...

Hi Amy!!!

Great to hear from you!!! I've been keeping up with your blog as well. Glad to her you and Owen are doing well. Not sure what to say about what John did to your arm - lol.

I know you love, but do you still like him?? Just kidding!! Had to go there based on this post.

It's really good to hear from you! I miss you, too!

/D

Anonymous said...

Dave,

2 Peter 1;

Faith is the beginning point.
Virtue is choosing goodness rather than corruption.
Knowledge, practical wisdom, is acting on the understanding of Gods’ truth, the Bible.
Self-control, mastering one's moods, rather than being controlled by them is submission to Christ.
Perseverance is not giving in easily to discouragement or despair that tempts you to quit.
Godliness is keeping in close touch with God.
Brotherly kindness is serving one another, sharing with one another, and praying for one another.
Love lies not in the one loved but in the one who loves.


If I can possess and exhibit these qualities, consistently, I shall continue to grow in nearness to Christ and be an effective and productive Christian.

So, I do not need to like others or myself , but may come to?

Caustic anonymous of 10:35 am

Dave said...

Hi "Caustic" (which I would not label you :-) ).

I appreciate you taking the time to think about 2 Peter 1 and I would agree with your understanding of verses. What's interesting is that IF you possessed all of these things - virtue, knowledge, godliness, etc. why wouldn't you like or love yourself?

So, the question is DO you possess these things? If you have a relationship with Christ, I believe you DO possess these things. This is not to say you don't battle against the opposite of these things - that is our nature, but that does not mean you don't possess them.

Check out Galatians 5:22-23. These may already be familiar to you, but here's what I think many people miss - if Christ is in you, you already have all of these things. They are the result (fruit) of God's Spirit within you. It's really more about getting ourselves out of the way and letting God shine through us (versus attempting to try and force these things to the front of our lives).

What do you think? Do you believe the Spirit of God is already a part of who you are?

Do you agree that understanding that you ARE the person 2 Peter 1 describes then loving (and liking) others and yourself is a natural result of spiritual growth (verse 7)?

Anonymous said...

Dave,
Possessing and accessing these qualities are 2 different things.

2 Peter 1 indicates a progression, adding or building on that which comes first. As you state the result is fruit. Fruit does not just come. There is seed, germination, growth, flower, then fruit.

I believe the Spirit of God is in me, as are Christ and God, for the Trinity cannot be divided. But I refer to Romans 7:21-25..." 21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

To summarize; earnest desires to obey, increase as you grow in grace.

So again I ask, "Do I need to like others or myself , or may I come to?"

Caustic

Dave said...

C,

I'm not sure I understand your question at the end - it's times like this I wish we were face-to-face to clearly understand each other. I need you to reword your question for me so I can better understand it.

Regarding the Romans verses - I share this same struggle with Paul (and you), but notice the resolution Paul has in verse 25 - Jesus is the solution. Look at the next verse (8:1) - there's NO condemnation for you or I because we are in Christ. Verse 8:2 - Jesus has set us FREE. So, while we may feel like we're still in the battle, it really has already been resolved - by Christ. Look at verse 8:9 - you have stated that the Spirit of God is within you - therefore, you are ultimately controlled by the Spirit, not your sinful nature.

I'm still afraid I'm not truly answering your question, though. So, please reword it for me.

Anonymous said...

Dave,

I saw that you are reading "The Shack", so I did. Chapter 11 put my question to rest, along with some further bible study.

C

Dave said...

C,

So, I take it you liked "The Shack". I'd love to hear more of your thoughts - how did it answer your question?