Loving People: Not As They Deserve, Not As They Love, Not As We Need

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Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people (Eph. 6:7 NIV).

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant (Gal. 1:10 NLT).

The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? (Psalm 118:6 NIV).

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jer. 31:3 NIV).

Heavenly Father, of all the pits easy to fall into, being too impacted by how people relate to us is the pit with the most deadly toxins in it. When people have too much power over our hearts, their approval can be as addictive as heroin or money. Their criticism can paralyze and kill us, like the venom of vipers. Their distance can fuel our anxieties and intensify our shame. Free us, Lord; heal us.

Father, we want your relationship to us in Jesus to be the most defining reality in our lives—our greatest peace, joy, and hope. So restore to us the joy of our salvation; renew our experience of your delight in us; refresh our hearts in your everlasting love and unfailing kindness. Only your love is better than life.

Then free us to relate to people and love them, “as unto you,” as an act of worship—whether our kindness is acknowledged, reciprocated, or ignored. Help us break the cycle of letting people be the thermostat in our lives. People will always make lousy saviors. Nobody can be Jesus to us but Jesus; and we dare not take on Jesus’ role in other people’s lives.

Father, we’re grateful you don’t despise our weaknesses or brokenness, even when we have to confess the same things to you over and over. We long for the Day when we will be made perfect in love. Until that Day, keep freeing us from our people idolatries. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ welcoming and healing name.

 

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